Non-profit

Morningstar Foundation

Location:

BETHESDA, MD

Tax ID:

52-1270464

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2020):

Assets: $454,118,517

Type:

Private Foundation

Formation:

1982

Founders:

Michael and Susan (Susie) Gelman

Budget (2022):

Revenue: $39,711,625
Expenses: $26,647,958
Total Assets: $422,758,606

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The Morningstar Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation based in Bethesda, Maryland, that supports left-of-center organizations including Jewish advocacy group Bend the Arc, the Social Venture Fund for Jewish-Arab Equality and Shared Society, and Keshet, a group that advocates for LGBT Jews. 1

Grants are given by the Morningstar Foundation both within the United States and Israel to organizations focused on Jewish causes, liberal expansionist immigration policy, gun control, and government intervention in health care. The foundation helps organizations focused on the Israeli environmental movement, Israeli civil society, and encouraging Israeli philanthropy. 2

Background

Michael and Susan (Susie) Gelman direct the Morningstar Foundation. The Gelman family inherited the Levi Strauss fortune through Strauss’ nephew’s only child, Elise Fanny Stern. Levi Strauss founded the company in 1853 but never married. When he died in 1902, the company fell to Stern who married Walter Haas, whose descendants are the current owners of Levi Strauss & Co. 3

Michael and Susie Gelman’s daughter Rachel Gelman founded and manages the Bafrayung Fund, a Covina, California-based private grantmaking foundation that funds left-of-center to radical organizations such as the Palestinian Youth Movement and the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC). 4 Although the Gelman Family is Jewish and maintains extensive ties to Jewish-American networks and Israel, the Bafrayung Fund supports a large network of radical anti-Israel groups that organized many of the campus protests related to the 2023-2024 Israel-Hamas conflict, including the Palestine Youth Movement. The Morningstar Foundation donates extensively to the Bafrayung Fund. 5

Founders

The Morningstar Foundation was established by Michael and Susie Gelman. Susie Gelman is an activist focused on the Jewish community and the state of Israel. Susie Gelman is the president of The Morningstar Foundation. She is a graduate of Harvard University and the Georgetown University Law Center. She is the board chair for the liberal Israel Policy Forum. She is a member of the owners’ group of Mid-Atlantic Media, which publishes the Baltimore Jewish Times.  6

She spent  three terms as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and previously co-chaired the Israel Religious Expression Platform of the Jewish Federations of North America. She was the inaugural chair of the Birthright Israel Foundation where she still sits as an honorary board member. 7 Susie Gelman is a member of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University, is an honorary fellow of Brandeis University, and is past president of the Georgetown Day School Board of Trustees, where she sat on the board for twelve years. She also is president of the board of the Goldman Environmental Foundation. 8 She was reportedly one of President Joe Biden’s top candidates for the United States’ ambassadorship to Israel. 9 In 2023, President Biden appointed Susie Gelman to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. 10

Michael Gelman is the managing director of The Morningstar Foundation. He is chair of the executive committee of the Jewish Federations of North America and was previously the treasurer. He spent three terms as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Former President Bill Clinton appointed him to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council for a term that lasted from 1995 to 2004. Gelman was the inaugural chairman of the board of The Israel Project and sits on its executive committee. He also sits on the boards of several organizations, including Jewish Agency for Israel, Hillel, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, University of Maryland College Park Foundation, American Jewish International Relations Institute, Moment Magazine, and Congressional Bank. 11

Susie Gelman’s father, Richard Goldman, was a San Francisco civic leader who founded the Goldman Environmental Prize and the now-closed Richard and Rhoda Goldman Foundation. Susie’s mother, Rhoda Goldman, was an heiress to the Levi Strauss fortune. The Goldmans supported a variety of left-leaning organizations, including ones devoted to Jewish causes and pro-abortion advocacy. 12 After the death of the Goldmans, their foundation closed and roughly $280 million was transferred to foundations belonging to the Goldmans’ three children, including Susie Gelman’s Morningstar Foundation. 13

Bafrayung Anti-Israel Controversy

A 2024 report by the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) identified the major groups funding the National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP), a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel advocacy group which supports student activism on college campuses and supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. 14 15 The report found that WESPAC is the lead financial contributor to NSJP and the Palestinian Youth Movement through Rachel Gelman’s Bafrayung Fund. 16

Morningstar and the Gelman family were listed in the report as financial sponsors of this pro-Palestinian movement for their collective donations to the Bafrayung Fund, which totaled $3,470,000 between 2019 and 2022. 17 After the Daily Beast published this information about the ISGAP report and Rachel Gelman’s anti-Israel involvement, ISGAP revised the report to no longer list the Bafrayung Fund as the foremost donor. 18 However, tax filings show a $1,000,000 donation from Morningstar Foundation to Bafrayung Fund in 2022, and a $20,000 grant from Bafrayung Fund to WESPAC with a designation for the Palestinian Youth Movement also in 2022. 19

Financials

The Morningstar Foundation’s revenue is primarily generated through investment income and sales of its assets. Between 2021 and 2022, the Morningstar Foundation’s total annual revenue jumped nearly $20,000,000 due to the sale of over $31 million in assets. 20

In 2022, the Morningstar Foundation reported $39,711,625 in revenue, $26,647,958 in expenses, and $422,758,606 in net assets. The Foundation made 178 grants in the year for a total of $20,038,243. This includes grants of $1,000,000 to Rachel Gelman’s Bafrayung Fund, $1,000,000 to Planned Parenthood Federation of Americav, $250,000 to Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, $500,000 to the Anti-Defamation League, $15,000 to Bend the Arc, a total of $825,000 to Birthright Israel Foundation, $851,800 to the Israel Policy Forum, and a total of $50,000 to the Tides Center. 21

The organization made other grants to left-of-center organizations in 2022, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of the District of Columbia, American Jewish World Service, and The Johns Hopkins Center For Gun Violence Solutions. 22

References

  1. The Morningstar Philanthropic Foundation – 2017 990. ProPublica. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/521270464/ 02_2019_prefixes_47-52%2F521270464_201712_990PF_2019020916081556
  2.  Rosenberg, Liza. “Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) | 3 CHEERS FOR THE 3 CHAIRS.” Haaretz Labels. November 3, 2013. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://www.haaretz.com/haaretz-labels/power/1.5723765
  3. Israel, David. “Report: Levi Strauss Heir Rachel Gelman a Major Force Behind Pro-Hamas Groups.” Jewish Press. May 29, 2024. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/antisemitism-news/anti-israel-ngos/report-levi-strauss-heir-rachel-gelman-a-major-force-behind-pro-hamas-groups/2024/05/29/
  4. Bafrayung Fund – 2022 990. ProPublica. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/832811578/202343199349100304/full
  5. Israel, David. “Report: Levi Strauss Heir Rachel Gelman a Major Force Behind Pro-Hamas Groups.” Jewish Press. May 29, 2024. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/antisemitism-news/anti-israel-ngos/report-levi-strauss-heir-rachel-gelman-a-major-force-behind-pro-hamas-groups/2024/05/29/
  6. Rogelberg, Sasha. “Biden Appoints Jewish Community Leader Susie Gelman to U.S. International Religious Freedom Commission.” Baltimore Jewish Times. July 18, 2023. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://www.jewishtimes.com/biden-appoints-jewish-community-leader-susie-gelman-to-u-s-international-religious-freedom-commission/
  7. Who We Are. Birthright Israel Foundation. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://birthrightisrael.foundation/board
  8. Susie Gelman. Israel Policy Forum. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://israelpolicyforum.org/about/leadership/susie-gelman/
  9.  “Former US-Israel Policy forum head’s daughter backs anti-Zionist campus protests – report.” Jerusalem Post. May 30, 2024. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/antisemitism/article-804404
  10. Rogelberg, Sasha. “Biden Appoints Jewish Community Leader Susie Gelman to U.S. International Religious Freedom Commission.” Baltimore Jewish Times. July 18, 2023. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://www.jewishtimes.com/biden-appoints-jewish-community-leader-susie-gelman-to-u-s-international-religious-freedom-commission/
  11. Michael Gelman, CPA. GRF, CPAs & Advisors. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://www.grfcpa.com/people/michael-gelman/
  12. Slotnik, Daniel E. “Richard N. Goldman, Civic Leader and Patron, Dies at 90.” New York Times. December 4, 2010. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/05/us/05goldman.html
  13. “As parents assets flow in, Goldman heirs deciding which Jewish causes to fund.” J Weekly. June 29, 2012. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://www.jweekly.com/2012/06/29/as-parents-assets-flow-in-goldman-heirs-deciding-which-jewish-causes-to-fun/
  14. RECENT CAMPUS BDS VICTORIES. National Students for Justice in Palestine. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://nationalsjp.org/bds-victories
  15. “Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).” ADL, Accessed June 26, 2024. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/students-for-justice-in-palestine-sjp#_edn1
  16. Israel, David. “Report: Levi Strauss Heir Rachel Gelman a Major Force Behind Pro-Hamas Groups.” Jewish Press. May 29, 2024. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/antisemitism-news/anti-israel-ngos/report-levi-strauss-heir-rachel-gelman-a-major-force-behind-pro-hamas-groups/2024/05/29/
  17. Israel, David. “Report: Levi Strauss Heir Rachel Gelman a Major Force Behind Pro-Hamas Groups.” Jewish Press. May 29, 2024. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/antisemitism-news/anti-israel-ngos/report-levi-strauss-heir-rachel-gelman-a-major-force-behind-pro-hamas-groups/2024/05/29/
  18. Bredderman, William and Kirsch, Noah. “Child of Famed Jewish Family Funded Pro-Palestinian Protests.” The Daily Beast. June 1, 2024. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://www.thedailybeast.com/pro-palestinian-campus-protests-were-funded-by-rachel-gelman-despite-family-being-jewish
  19.  Bafrayung Fund – 2022 990. ProPublica. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/832811578/202343199349100304/full
  20. The Morningstar Philanthropic Foundation. ProPublica. Accessed June 16, 2024. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/521270464
  21. The Morningstar Philanthropic Foundation – 2022 990. ProPublica. Accessed June 16, 2024.  https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/521270464/ 202313189349100401/full
  22. The Morningstar Philanthropic Foundation – 2022 990. ProPublica. Accessed June 16, 2024.  https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/521270464/ 202313189349100401/full
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 1982

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $454,118,517 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2019 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $398,751,611 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2015 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $247,476,844 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $247,605,177 $1,759 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $217,666,314 $1,759 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $212,892,738 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $122,458,750 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Morningstar Foundation


    BETHESDA, MD