The Kushners: A Look at the Philanthropy of a Family in the News

Kushner family philanthropy is powered by a real estate fortune
KUSHNER FAMILY PHILANTHROPY IS POWERED BY A REAL ESTATE FORTUNE
These days, Charles B. Kushner is best known as the father of Donald Trump's 35-year-old son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has played a key role in orchestrating the billionaire's rise while also steering Kushner Companies and Observer Media, publisher of the New York Observer
But Charles Kushner himself has an interesting backstory that includes philanthropy. His parents arrived in the United States in the 1940s, and Kushner grew up in the 1950s in New Jersey. He attended NYU and Hofstra, and founded Kushner Companies, a real estate firm, in 1985. Kushner Companies now consists of more than 20,000 multifamily apartments, as well as 13 million square feet of office, industrial and retail space in several eastern states. 
Last decade, the Kushner family was in the news after Charles Kushner was sentenced to two years in federal prison in Alabama after pleading guilty to 18 felony counts. Kushner was ultimately released within a year. Now, a decade later, the family is in the news once more. 
With a spotlight on the president-elect and his inner circle, it's a good moment take a closer look at Charles and Seryl Kushner Charitable Foundation, a low-profile charitable vehicle that's been around for years, steered by the Kushner clan—Charles, wife Seryl, and son Jared among them. One recent grantee of the foundation, unsurprisingly, is the Eric Trump Foundation, which is "dedicated to raising money for terminally ill children at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital." 
Jewish causes are especially important to this orthodox family, and most the foundation's recent grantmaking is conventional. The family has strong ties to New Jersey and New York, and many of the foundation's grantees are within this geographic region. The family bankrolls the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy and Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, Modern Orthodox Jewish schools in New Jersey that bear the name of Kushner's father and mother. The family has also strongly supported the Ramaz School and directed funds to Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan and Yeshiva University, among others.
The Kushners also have an interest in special education. The Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Hebrew Academy houses a program of the SINAI Special Needs Institute, an organization "dedicated to serving the educational, psychological and emotional needs of Jewish children and young adults." They've been steady backers of Friendship Circle as well, which has a mission to "provide Jewish children who have special needs with a full range of social, recreational, educational and Judaic experiences." 
The Kushner clan also directs money to various Jewish religious and community organizations, as well as toward Israel. Some that money flowing overseas has attracted controversy. 
piece in Haaretz notes the litany of Jewish organizations the family supports, some of which are involved controversial West Bank settlement projects, as the outlet writes: 
Among organizations and institutions in the West Bank that receive funding from the Kushner family, the leading beneficiary is American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva. Located in one of the more hard-line, ideological settlements, Beit El Yeshiva received $20,000 from the Kushner family in 2013.
The president of American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva, whose offices are located in Forest Hills, New York, is David Friedman, Trump’s senior adviser on Israel affairs. Friedman, who has served as Trump’s real estate lawyer for the past 15 years and is considered to be very close to the president-elect, has expressed interest in being the next U.S. ambassador to Israel.
Per Haaretz, the foundation also recently steered money ($500, by the way) to "radical Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in Yitzhar," which allegedly has "served as a base for launching violent attacks against nearby Palestinians villages and Israeli security forces." With uncertainty about how the new president will conduct foreign policy matters, particularly in the Middle East, it makes sense that media outlets will be examining the administration from all fronts.
Apart from Jewish organizations, the family's grantmaking has also supported places like Columbia University, CUNY Graduate School, NYC Outward Bound Schools, Weill Cornell Medical College, Pace University, Hunter College Foundation, and Catholic Charities.
For a full overview of the Kushner family's grantmaking, read our profile and guide below. 
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    Jared Kurshner and Donald Trump
    WTF ? the family of Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump and is a trusted confidant of the president-elect, donated tens of thousands of dollars in recent years to projects in the settlements, including a small amount to one particularly radical yeshiva. [...]
    The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights already filed a complaint in the past with the IRS about tax-exempt donations to the radical Od Yosef Chai yeshiva that received a small donation from the Kushner family. Located in the settlement of Yitzhar, Od Yosef Chai has served as a base for violent attacks against nearby Palestinian villages.
    Though the tax-exempt contribution to the Yitzhar yeshiva is small ($500), this settlement is notorious, and for good reason. The extremist rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur head the yeshiva and are co-authors of a Torah commentary that justifies the killing of non-Jewish babies if they could grow up to be a threat to Israel. The Kushner Foundation’s contributions are part of over $200 million in tax-exempt contributions made by US based entities to illegal Israeli settlements and extremist organizations.
    Jared Kushner (along with his siblings) sits on the board of the Charles and Seryl Kushner foundation. Though the bulk of the foundation’s donations in Israel were made to medical centers and hospitals, it made a number of donations to settlement organizations.
    Among organizations and institutions in the West Bank that receive funding from the Kushner family, the leading beneficiary is American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva. Located in one of the more hard-line, ideological settlements, Beit El Yeshiva received $20,000 from the Kushner family in 2013. The president of American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva, whose offices are located in Forest Hills, New York, is David Friedman, Trump’s senior adviser on Israel affairs. Friedman, who has served as Trump’s real estate lawyer for the past 15 years and is considered to be very close to the president-elect, has expressed interest in being the next U.S. ambassador to Israel. [...] 
    Another key beneficiary of Kushner charity in Israel is the Israel Defense Forces. Between 2011 and 2013, the foundation donated a total of $315,000 to Friends of the IDF, the army’s U.S. fund-raising arm. Jared Kushner serves on the organization’s board.
    Over the past ten years, the population of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank has risen from 250,000 to 400,000. All settlements are considered illegal since the Fourth Geneva conventions prohibit an occupying power from transferring its populations to occupied territory.
    The Israeli judicial system generally does not meddle with older, established settlements, but does consider wildcat outposts illegal. One such outpost, Amona, near Ramallah in the West Bank, is about to become a flashpoint. The Israeli government has, over the years, made attempts to halt the growth of this particular outpost. These have been largely ineffectual, perhaps because it has simultaneously supported the outpost, providing electricity and other services, along with Israeli soldiers to protect it. In August, one of these soldiers (from an ultra-orthodox unit) shot an unarmed Palestinian man.
    Last month, the Israeli Supreme Court handed the government a December 25 deadline to remove all settlers from Amona, since it sits on privately-owned Palestinian land. This fact distinguishes Amona from many other settlements where Palestinian owners cannot document their land claims. Israeli authorities justify settlements built on “state land” under the theory that Lilliputians are always entitled to build on Blefuscudian parks and common grounds. 
    Like many other settler-colonies, various segments of the Israeli government actively enable theft from and oppression of indigenous populations. In a mild form, this can mean denying or delaying building permits for Palestinians. The next step is demolishing Palestinian structures built without permits (which are never available, see above). Another way to further settlement is to provide tax-payer subsidized security for illegal structures built by Jewish persons on land they have questionable claims to. This last privilege is being expanded by the Knesset this month. The Likud-led government has introduced a bill that will retroactively legalize all illegal settlement outposts:
    Naftali Bennett, head of the pro-settler Jewish Home party that championed the bill, said that it marked the first step towards “extending sovereignty to Judea and Samaria”, the Israeli term for the West Bank. A recent poll published by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 44 per cent of Jewish Israelis would support annexing the West Bank, against 38 per cent who would oppose doing so. 
    Since West Bank Palestinians have no say in the government that rules over them, this law is being furthered with no discussion of Palestinian rights. However, it is not clear whether the law will protect Amona, or will halt the High Court’s demolition order. The settlers at Amona are convinced they’ve been sold out by the Israeli right and have been constructing shelters and bathrooms to host supporters. During a similar episode in 2006 at the same settlement, thousands of settlement-supporters clashed with Israeli police officers, throwing stones, lightbulbs and cinder blocks at Israeli security forces, injuring dozens. 
    Meanwhile, the US delivered two F-35 jets to the Israeli air-force, courtesy of the American tax-payer. This was done as the Senate voted (unanimously) to restrict speech critical of Israel on campuses by branding it as anti-semitic.