Episode 28: The Messy and Beautiful Truth Behind Philanthropy w/Charlene Seidle

Episode 28: The Messy and Beautiful Truth Behind Philanthropy w/Charlene Seidle

“A pious Jew is not one That worries about their neighbor’s soul and their own stomach; rather, a pious Jew is one that worries about their own soul and their neighbor’s stomach.”

— Rabbi Yisrael Salanter

Charlene is the Leichtag Foundation’s Executive Vice President. She has played a key leadership role in the development and implementation of Leichtag Foundation’s strategic framework and oversees grantmaking. She has designed innovative and creative programs such as funder partnerships and consortia, the Jerusalem Model, the International Office for Jerusalem Partnerships, the Hive at Leichtag Commons, and others; and provides overall management and strategy development.

Charlene won the 2013 JJ Greenberg Memorial Award, an international prize given to one outstanding philanthropic professional under the age of 40 each year.

Charlene is a frequent speaker, presenter and writer about topics pertaining to philanthropy, Jewish community trends and social change. She is on the board of the Jewish Funders Network, formerly served on the board of San Diego Grantmakers and has served on many committees and councils. Charlene spent 18 years working for the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego in roles that included serving as President and CEO of the organization.

You are walking down the street and on one side of the road you see a fundraiser for a soup kitchen. On the other side you see a fundraiser for a political candidate that is running to change housing and food access policy.

Where do you give?

Charlene Seidle says that one of the more important deciding factors is to understand what the values of you and your family are. It is firstly important to invest your emotional and financial resources in causes that you care about and want to stay connected to.

Another option for figuring out how to give is to give half of your allocated philanthropic resources towards addressing urgent needs and the other half towards systemic and root causes.

Saul Price of the Price Club used to say “it is easier to know how to make money than to know how to give it away.”

Charlene addresses these complexities when it comes to giving. There is indeed risk. But there is also an incredible opportunity to make change.

 The Hive at the Leichtag Foundation The Hive at the Leichtag Foundation

We also discussed one the areas of giving that the Leichtag Foundation operates in. As a grant-maker, they give to organizations in Jerusalem. Once thought to be a far too volatile municipality for philanthropy, Jerusalem now finds itself as a go-to destination for foundations looking to make an impact. Charlene and the Leichtag Foundation have been there for over a decade.

To hear more about some of the most common misconceptions about the world of Philanthropy, click on the video below!

For a book about philanthropic giving recommended by Charlene Seidle – be sure to check out:


“Do you believe that your dollar can make a difference in the world?

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