The Jewish Effective Giving Pledge

Rabbis and their congregations can save several lives every year and substantially improve countless others by informing their congregants about effective giving.

If you are inspired by this opportunity to have a lasting positive impact on the lives of others, join the rabbis and congregations who have taken the Jewish Effective Giving Pledge.

Why take a Pledge?

It’s a way of saying “Here I am” and making a public commitment to reducing the amount of preventable deaths and suffering in the world.

It’s a way of joining a movement-wide effort that will make Progressive Judaism a leading voice in the fight against extreme global poverty.

It’s a way of inspiring others to join us, learn about effective giving, and save lives together.

The Pledge:

I realize that my congregation and I can do a substantial amount of good in the fight against extreme global poverty. I therefore commit—in the spirit of progressive Jewish values and Tikkun Olam—to raising a small sum of money annually for effective life-saving charities and to informing my congregation members about their ability to save and improve lives through effective giving.”

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is the pledge legally binding?

The pledge is by no means legally binding. The commitment we have in mind is a moral one, made voluntarily by congregational rabbis and enforced by their own conscience.

What do you mean by “raising a small sum”?

We are well aware that our movement’s congregations differ in size, average income levels, and their capacity to take on additional projects. A small sum for some congregations is not so small for others, and we don’t want to deter any rabbi from joining this effort because raising a specific sum of money is a burden. We have therefore decided to leave this open to the rabbi’s discretion.

What do you mean by “effective life-saving charities”?

We mean charities that can—according to highly reliable third-party charity evaluators—save or improve the lives of others extremely effectively for every dollar donated. We especially recommend any of the following five: 

Against Malaria Foundation

Development Media International 

Helen Keller International's Vitamin A Supplementation Program

Malaria Consortium

New Incentives

We also suggest that rabbis visit The Life You Can Save and GiveWell to find out more about these charities (and others) and learn more about effective giving.

How will the money be raised?

This is, once again, up to the rabbis. Some rabbis might choose to raise the money through their discretionary funds. Others might choose to hold fundraisers (or even virtual fundraisers), or to give their congregants the option to donate a suggested sum when they pay their membership fees.

We believe that rabbis know what way of raising money works best for them and their congregations.

It's important to note that none of the money donated will go through the initiative or through the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Our role is to promote the idea of effective giving and to point out charities that present exceptional opportunities for rabbis and Jewish leaders to save and improve lives together with their congregations.

These are tough times for our congregation. Does the money have to be raised every year?

The short answer is no. The idea of the pledge is encouraging rabbis to make a long-term commitment to saving lives in the fight against extreme global poverty. If in any given year directly raising money is a burden, a rabbi could simply focus on informing his or her congregation members about their potential to save lives as individual donors. We generally expect the effect of informing congregation members about effective giving to have far larger consequences than raising the basic annual sum.

How do you keep track of who takes the pledge and how much money is raised?

If you inform us you that are ready to pledge, we will do our best to support you in your efforts to save and improve lives and we will add your congregation's accomplishment to the project's collective achievements. While we do not require any reporting on the amount of money raised, we will be sending out annual surveys at the end of the year to try to see how much good we have done together and how the process could be optimized.

What are the criteria for inclusion in the list of life-saving congregations? How can my congregation join?

Our list of life-saving congregations features a growing group of synagogues in which a rabbi, a lay leader, or a congregation member has committed to save at least one life this year by raising $3,000-5,000 for one of the first four of GiveWell's top charities, which represent four extremely cost-effective ways of saving a human life.

Although the Jewish Effective Giving Initiative is just at the very beginning of its journey, we are already extremely pleased and encouraged to see so many rabbis and congregations ready to commit to preventing death and illness by supporting some of the world's most impactful life-saving charities.

Rabbis, lay leaders, and members of congregations not yet listed are welcome to contact us and commit to saving a life in honour of their congregation.

I am not a congregational rabbi or a lay leader. What can I do to help the cause?

First of all, contact us! We would love to hear from you, tell you more about the initiative, and see how we can collaborate to do some good together.

While at the moment our initiative is focused on rabbis and congregations, we plan to expand and develop in many different directions in the very near future. We are confident that anyone can help our effort save lives, so don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

If you would like to support the initiative financially, you can do so right here.