Non-profit

JEHT Foundation

The JEHT Foundation was a left-of-center grantmaking nonprofit based in New York City. The Foundation’s name was an acronym for “Justice, Equality, Human Dignity and Tolerance.” The Foundation made the bulk of its grants in support of left-of-center criminal justice and electoral policy implementation. The Foundation also funded efforts to end the death penalty. [1] [2]

Robert Crane founded JEHT in 2001, and the Foundation closed in 2009 after its major donors were defrauded by Bernie Madoff. [3]

Programs Supported

The bulk of the Foundation’s work was in criminal justice policy. The Foundation funded anti-recidivism campaigns in several states. In Kansas, the Foundation funded a pilot program for the Kansas Department of Corrections that helped former inmates find housing, jobs, and transportation. The Foundation awarded the Kansas Department of Corrections a grant of $4.7 million for the program, and all but $300,000 was paid before the Foundation was forced to shut its doors. [4]

The Foundation also donated $6 million to Michigan government agencies for a similar program called the Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative. The Foundation had given the program all but $1.6 million of its promised funding, which had to be replaced by the Michigan legislature through tax dollars when the Foundation was forced to close. The Foundation had previously helped Michigan plan the program and participated in its implementation. [5]

The Foundation granted $573,000 to Wisconsin agencies for a study on how to improve criminal justice administration in the state’s judicial system, but the state lost $322,000 of that funding when the Foundation closed. [6]

The foundation also made several grants to organizations opposed to the death penalty, including the Death Penalty Information Center, the Sentencing Project, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Equal Justice Initiative, the Vera Institute of Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Innocence Project of Texas. [7]

The Foundation also worked on changing state electoral processes. The Foundation awarded a $2.7 million to the Pew Charitable Trust’s Make Voting Work initiative, which was designed to improve the way elections are administered by state governments. As a result of the Foundation’s closure, Pew lost out on an additional $3.1 million. [8]

The Foundation also collaborated with the Pew Charitable Trust’s Public Safety Performance Project on reducing state prison populations. Specifically, Pew and the foundation worked together on the Kansas and Michigan convict reentry programs although Pew never received a grant from the Foundation for the project. [9]

Closure

In 2008, the Foundation was forced to close after its main donors, Jeanne and Kenneth Levy-Church, were defrauded by Bernie Madoff’s investment firm. The Levy-Churches had been investors in Madoff’s firm for over 30 years and did not suspect anything. [10] Foundation president Robert Crane expressed regret at the closure of the Foundation. [11]

Leadership

Robert Crane was the founder, president, and chief executive of the Foundation. As of early 2021, he sat on the board of directors of the left-leaning Energy Foundation. [12]

References

  1. Clarke, Matthew. 2009. “Madoff Fraud Bankrupts JEHT Foundation, Hurts Criminal Justice Reform Efforts”. Prison Legal News. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2009/jun/15/madoff-fraud-bankrupts-jeht-foundation-8232hurts-criminal-justice-reform-efforts/.    ^
  2.            Clarke, Matthew. 2009. “Madoff Fraud Bankrupts JEHT Foundation, Hurts Criminal Justice Reform Efforts”. Prison Legal News. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2009/jun/15/madoff-fraud-bankrupts-jeht-foundation-8232hurts-criminal-justice-reform-efforts/. ^
  3. “Madoff Scandal Forces JEHT Foundation’s Closure”. 2008. Dealbook New York Times. https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2008/12/15/madoff-scandal-forces-jeht-foundations-closure/. ^
  4. Clarke, Matthew. 2009. “Madoff Fraud Bankrupts JEHT Foundation, Hurts Criminal Justice Reform Efforts”. Prison Legal News. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2009/jun/15/madoff-fraud-bankrupts-jeht-foundation-8232hurts-criminal-justice-reform-efforts/. ^
  5.       Clarke, Matthew. 2009. “Madoff Fraud Bankrupts JEHT Foundation, Hurts Criminal Justice Reform Efforts”. Prison Legal News. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2009/jun/15/madoff-fraud-bankrupts-jeht-foundation-8232hurts-criminal-justice-reform-efforts/. ^
  6. Clarke, Matthew. 2009. “Madoff Fraud Bankrupts JEHT Foundation, Hurts Criminal Justice Reform Efforts”. Prison Legal News. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2009/jun/15/madoff-fraud-bankrupts-jeht-foundation-8232hurts-criminal-justice-reform-efforts/. ^
  7. Clarke, Matthew. 2009. “Madoff Fraud Bankrupts JEHT Foundation, Hurts Criminal Justice Reform Efforts”. Prison Legal News. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2009/jun/15/madoff-fraud-bankrupts-jeht-foundation-8232hurts-criminal-justice-reform-efforts/. ^
  8. Gramlich, John. 2009. “Corrections Funds Vanish In Madoff Scandal”. Pew Charitable Trusts. https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2009/01/28/corrections-funds-vanish-in-madoff-scandal. ^
  9. Gramlich, John. 2009. “Corrections Funds Vanish In Madoff Scandal”. Pew Charitable Trusts. https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2009/01/28/corrections-funds-vanish-in-madoff-scandal. ^
  10.         “Madoff Scandal Forces JEHT Foundation’s Closure”. 2008. Dealbook New York Times. https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2008/12/15/madoff-scandal-forces-jeht-foundations-closure/. ^
  11. “Madoff Scandal Forces JEHT Foundation’s Closure”. 2008. Dealbook New York Times. https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2008/12/15/madoff-scandal-forces-jeht-foundations-closure/. ^
  12. “Robert Crane”. 2021. Energy Foundation. Accessed March 15. https://www.ef.org/person/robert-crane/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Kristin Engberg
    Former Senior Program Manager
  2. Rosy Kalfus
    Former Program Associate
  3. Robert Crane
    Founder and Former President
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