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JEHT Foundation Records

 Collection
Identifier: MSS089

Scope and Contents

The JEHT Foundation Records consist of five series: Board and Trustee Meetings, Financial Records, Consulting Contracts and Reports, Subject Files, and Grant Files.

Board and Trustee Meetings, 2002-2008, includes agenda packets from trustee meetings between 2002 and 2008. These include meeting minutes; year-end overviews; lists of grant recommendations, approved grants, and annotated lists of all grants. A typical agenda packet includes sections on 1) actionable items such as budgets, employee handbooks, and grant requests from previously supported organizations; 2) items for discussion and review, including grant making procedures, the Foundation’s philosophy of giving, program directions, and strategic timelines; and 3) items for informational purposes, such as descriptions of accomplishments and recent grants, staff resumes, and recent articles on community and international justice.

Financial Records, 2000-2007, consists of financial statements relating to the JEHT Foundation’s operations, as well as information about grants awarded to or applied for by the JEHT Foundation to help establish cooperative relationships.

Consulting Contracts and Reports, 2002-2008, contains information about the various consultants and agencies hired by the JEHT Foundation for informational purposes and strategic recommendations, as well as the summary reports and research findings those consultants produced.

Subject Files, 1974-2019, are the articles, brochures, and resources the JEHT Foundation maintained pertaining to major areas of grant making concern. This includes two subseries: 1) collected materials relating to legal cases of high relevance to JEHT’s mission, and 2) a substantial number of articles on the topic of juvenile justice.

Grant Files, 1996-2009, represent the vast majority of the collected materials. These contain correspondence, reports, grant proposals and contracts, and financial information relating to the various projects and institutions funded by the JEHT Foundation during their years of operation. Grant files are arranged alphabetically by awardee while maintaining JEHT’s original color-coded foldering system: red folders contain materials related to the grant’s proposal; green folders include financial documents such as 990s and year-end financial statements; yellow folders contain reports generally produced by the grantees and delivered to JEHT; and manila folders include miscellany. Each grant file may have two associated dates: the date the grant was awarded, and the date the grant was closed. Because JEHT ceased operations so abruptly, later grant files lack closing dates. In 2002, JEHT sponsored a special initiative on Felon Disenfranchisement. These grant files preserve the original order and are grouped together in a subseries along with background materials, drafts, notes, reports, and budgets relating to the project.

Dates

  • 1974 - 2019
  • Majority of material found within 2002 - 2008

Creator

Language of Materials

The materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyright material.

Historical Note

The JEHT Foundation was established in 2000 by its trustees, Jeanne Levy Hinte, Jeff Levy Hinte, William Zabel, and Robert Crane, as a socially responsible non-profit organization dedicated to engaging diverse constituencies and tactics, “since being ‘right’ rarely, if ever, ensures success.” The foundation’s name derives from the core values behind its proposed mission: “justice, equality, human dignity, and tolerance.” Its early work involved cooperation with the New York Community Trust, and by 2002 the JEHT Foundation had begun convening trustee board meetings with programs focusing on community justice and human rights and an initial grants budget of $5 to $6 million. By 2005, that had grown to $35 million, with an expansion to focus heavily on international justice and democratizing the electoral process. The Foundation sometimes involved itself in controversial or timely concerns, such as the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo situations in 2005 and Hurricane Katrina relief in 2006. In 2006, Kenneth Levy-Church joined the trustees, and the Foundation devoted more attention to juvenile justice initiatives, as well as issues relating to health, mental health, palliative care, and the death penalty. By December 2008, JEHT was operating with five trustees and 24 staff members out of its New York City-based office. At that time, the Foundation advertised its primary areas of interest as: 1) criminal justice, focusing on reducing incarceration levels, avoiding wrongful arrests or inappropriate convictions and sentences, and promoting reentry planning; 2) juvenile justice, acknowledging the need for age-appropriate approaches to criminal justice; 3) international justice as a route for U.S. participation in developing international rule of law, human rights, and humanitarian standards; and 4) fair and participatory elections, ranging from technical integrity issues to reducing barriers to electoral participation. Grant making efforts worked to support innovative, results-oriented projects, legal strategies, and evidence-based research that might impact policy decisions. Frequent grantees included the ACLU, the Brennan Center for Justice, Human Rights First, and the Vera Institute of Justice, among many others.

The JEHT Foundation was closely connected with the Rockit Fund, sharing Robert Crane and Kenneth Levy-Church as organizers, and in January 2008, Jeanne and Kenneth Levy-Church also established the Fair Food Foundation dedicated to bringing fresh food to needy urban areas. Unfortunately, these efforts ended in December of 2008 with the arrest of Bernie Madoff for securities fraud on December 15, 2008. Most of JEHT’s funds had been invested with Madoff for more than 30 years, since Jeanne Levy-Church’s father chose to invest his real estate fortune with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities L.L.C. These events forced both the JEHT Foundation and the Rockit Fund to cease operations abruptly.

Extent

59 Cubic Feet (59 record cartons)

Overview

The JEHT Foundation was established in 2000 by its trustees based on the core values behind its proposed mission: “justice, equality, human dignity, and tolerance.” Most of their efforts focused on grant making and advocacy in support of community justice, and by 2008, JEHT advertised its primary areas of interest as: 1) criminal justice; 2) juvenile justice; 3) international justice; and 4) fair and participatory elections. The Foundation was forced to cease operations in December of 2008 when Bernie Madoff was arrested for securities fraud, resulting in the loss of most of JEHT’s financial assets, invested with Madoff for more than 30 years.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by the JEHT Foundation in 2009. A2009/10-005.

Related Materials

Rockit Fund Records, 2005-2009

Bibliography

“About JEHT.” JEHT Foundation. https://web.archive.org/web/20090103210423/http://www.jehtfoundation.org/interests.html. Archived on December 31, 2008. Accessed on March 8, 2019.
Dealbook. “Madoff Scandal Forces JEHT Foundation’s Closure.” The New York Times (December 15, 2008).
Welch, Sherri Begin. “Quiet Philanthropists among Madoff Victims.” Crain’s Detroit Business 24, no. 51 (December 22, 2008): 3-19.

General

Rights Statement: The text of this webpage is available for modification and reuse under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License and the GNU Free Documentation License (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts).

Processing Information

Files generally were not refoldered, meaning the original color-coded folders with adhesive labels were retained (and could present archival issues in years to come as the adhesive degrades). Originally, grant files were organized first by subject (e.g., juvenile justice, human rights, etc.), then by open vs. closed status/year, then by organization name and grant-award year. After some discussion, Catherine Walsh and Angela White elected to reorder the grant files to increase ease of access for the typical archive user seeking information on a particular grant awardee. Therefore, grant files are now ordered alphabetically first by grantee organization and/or project, and second chronologically by the year the grant was awarded.

Creator

Title
JEHT Foundation Records, 1974-2019
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Catherine Walsh
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Philanthropic Studies Archives Repository

Contact:
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