Better Business Bureau Report for
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

Better Business Bureau Report issued February 2015
Better Business Bureau Report expires February 2017

Does not meet one or more standards
This charity does not meet one or more of the 20 standards for Charity Accountability. Find out more...

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Charity Contact Information

Name: Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
Address: 610 S Michigan Ave
  Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 312-322-1700
Web Address:
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Better Business Bureau Comments

Formerly known as:Spertus College of Judaica

Year, State Incorporated: 1925, Illinois
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: Spertus Institute is a center for Jewish learning and leadership that invites people of all backgrounds to explore the multifaceted Jewish experience. Spertus Institute inspires learning, serves diverse communities, and fosters understanding for Jews and people of all faiths.

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Evaluation Conclusions


Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership does not meet the following Standard for Charity Accountability.

Standard 16: Annual Report - Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

Spertus Institute Of Jewish Studies does not meet this standard because:

  • The organization states it does not have an annual report covering activities conducted in the past year.
Spertus shares information about its mission, current activities, and accomplishments through its website ( and Calendar of Events ( published three times per year. Its Transparency Page ( includes the Board of Directors roster. The financial audit on the page shows income and expenses for the past fiscal year including fundraising and administrative categories and ending net assets.

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership meets the remaining 19 Standards for Charity Accountability.
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Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership offers dynamic learning opportunities, rooted in Jewish wisdom and culture and open to all. Spertus Institute has been fostering Jewish learning and leadership since 1924. Long known for its graduate degree programs in Jewish Studies and for a range of public offerings, Spertus Institute also offers educational opportunities specifically for those who work for and with the Jewish community, both in Chicago and in select cities around the world. The Spertus Institute’s Center for Jewish Leadership (CJL) cultivates innovative approaches to leadership and develops the abilities of Jewish communal professionals and volunteers. Offerings include the Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies Program, certificate programs, and workshops. Spertus Institute’s Jewish Studies masters and doctoral programs are offered in a welcoming, non-denominational environment. They focus on Jewish civilization, the religious and intellectual outlook of Jews, and Judaism. Public programs — including films, speakers, seminars, concerts, and exhibits — are offered at the Institute’s contemporary, award-winning, environmentally sustainable Michigan Avenue facility as well as in the Chicago suburbs and online. Programming features world-class faculty and presenters, supported by a variety of resources drawn from Spertus Institute’s collections of art, media, books, artifacts, and archival material. Spertus Institute’s Chicago facility was designed by Krueck and Sexton Architects and opened in 2007. It has won numerous architectural awards. Select spaces within the Spertus building are available for rent by outside organizations for programs and events.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership's program expenses were:

Spertus college programs 1,930,304
auxiliary programs 1,776,104
Spertus collections programs 604,854
Total Program Expenses: $4,311,262
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Chief Executive : Hal M. Lewis, President and CEO

Chair of the Board: Mark Mehlman
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Attorney

Board Size: 27

Paid Staff Size: 41

*Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.
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Fund Raising


Method(s) Used:

direct mail, grant proposals, internet, planned giving arrangements, membership
Fund raising costs were 26% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $3,235,933, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
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Tax Status


This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.
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The following information is based on Spertus Institute Of Jewish Studies's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013.

Source of Funds  
gifts and bequests 1,776,260
auxiliary services 1,744,779
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago grants 1,394,440
realized and unrealized gains 1,008,178
net realized gain on swap 659,629
tuition revenue 652,684
interest and dividend income 203,919
rental and misc revenue 202,818
government grants 65,233
Total Income $7,707,940


Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 67%  Fund Raising: 11%  Administrative: 22% 

Total income $7,707,940
Program expenses $5,101,006
Fund raising expenses 825,657
Administrative expenses 1,623,860
Total expenses $7,550,523
Income in Excess of Expenses 157,417
Beginning net assets 13,551,364
Ending net assets 13,814,757
Total liabilities 49,963,081
Total assets $63,777,838

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An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

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