31 Mar Who Funds NGO Monitor?
NGO Monitor loves to criticize progressive NGOs for a lack of transparency concerning their funding. A recent report, for example, predictably attacks Human Rights Watch for not identifying all of its donors, particularly those at last year’s fundraising event in Saudi Arabia:
HRW publishes the names and amounts provided by some of its donors, but others remain hidden. Although HRW claims to refuse funding from government organizations, Oxfam NOVIB, funded largely by the Dutch government, provided approximately $1 million in 2008. Since some HRW donors and their contributions are not listed, it is possible that other direct or indirect government funders are among them. A highly controversial HRW dinner held in May 2009 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that included members of the government Shura Council, has been described as a fundraising event.
Should HRW identify all of its donors and the amounts they have donated? Probably. But HRW is a model of transparency compared to NGO Monitor itself. Here, in its entirety, is the information NGO Monitor’s website provides about its funding:
NGO Monitor was founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation. Major donors include Ben & Esther Rosenbloom Foundation, Baltimore; MZ Foundation, Oakland; Klarman Family Foundation, Boston; Middle East Forum Education Project, Philadelphia.
That’s it. Notice that NGO Monitor provides no information about the amounts donated by the foundations. And notice that NGO Monitor only identifies “major” donors — others remain hidden. And since others remain hidden, it is possible that direct or indirect government funders are among them.
NGO Monitor’s annual report for 2008 — it has yet to publish one for 2009 — is no more illuminating. The report simply states that NGO Monitor received $433,500 in donations during 2008; it does not identify where those donations came from or the amounts donated.
I’m not the only one who has noted NGO Monitor’s complete lack of financial transparency. Recent editorials in the Jerusalem Post (written by a professor at Ben Gurion University) and Haaretz have made the same point. (Interestingly, the Jerusalem Post seems to have removed the editorial. Fortunately, you can find a cached version here.)
NGO Monitor is absolutely right: financial transparency is critically important. So who funds NGO Monitor? If Mr. Steinberg or Ms. Herzberg will be kind enough to send me a complete list of names and amounts, I will happily publish the information here.