There are many powerful Jewish families in the Chicago area that engage in philanthropic endeavors, but local nonprofits are much more familiar with some of these families than others. One such low-profile foundation is the Abel and Judy Friedman Charitable Foundation. It flies under the radar, but it’s a good one to know for organizations affiliated with the Jewish faith.
Here are a few key things to know about the Abel and Judy Friedman Charitable Foundation and its founders.
The Foundation is Based in Skokie
Abel Friedman founded Chicago Sweeteners, now known as Batory Foods, in 1979. This is a food and beverage distribution company that earned the founder and his wife significant wealth. Their foundation has always prioritized the Chicagoland area, but it’s important to note that it is based in Skokie, Illinois. This suggests that the foundation may be open to suburban interests as well as inner-city needs, especially nonprofit programs that operate in Chicago’s northern suburbs.
Jewish Causes are Top Priority
This is a local funder of Jewish causes more than anything else, as grants seem primarily guided by Jewish commitments. Over the years, the Friedmans have strongly supported the Moishe House Chicago, the Illinois Holocaust Museum, the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicagoland Jewish High School, and the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. Abel Friedman is also on the board of governors of Hillel International. Grants here typically range from $5,000 to $25,000.
Education, Health, and Human Services are Other Interests
But within the parameters of Jewish funding (and occasionally outside of them) the Friedmans are interested in education, health and human services causes. The couple’s foundation has awarded grants to Children’s Hospital of Chicago, American Friends of Magen David Adom to support disaster services, and Louis and Saerree Fiedler Hillel at Northwestern University. Again, many of these types of grants have a Jewish angle.
Unsolicited Requests are Unwelcome
Yet despite the Friedmans’ commitment to local Jewish endeavors in the Chicago area, the couple remains closed to unsolicited funding requests. The funder does not have a website or publicly share its grantmaking guidelines. According to the most recent tax records available, annual grantmaking has topped out at less than $600,000 lately.
Learn more about how this funder operates locally by reading IP’s Chicago Funders profile of the Abel and Judy Friedman Charitable Foundation and the Abel Friedman profile in our Jewish Funding Guideb