For the past few days we've been hearing about the long list of charities that lost millions in Bernie Madoff's elaborate Ponzi scheme. But what about Madoff's own charitable contributions? Although he's been widely described as a prominent donor to various Jewish causes, Madoff hasn't been giving away bundles of cash for some time now. In 2007, the Madoff Family Foundation, which listed $19 million in assets at the end of the year, reported handing out $95,000 over the course of the year, down more than 90 percent from the year before when the foundation gave away $1.2 million. Perhaps he had an inkling the end was near and decided to hold on to as much cash as possible?
But Bernie, it turns out, isn't the only member of the family with a charitable trust. Both of his sons, Andrew and Mark, had them, too. And there's an amusing sidenote to the Madoff sons' non-profit activities, particularly as investigators examine how much Madoff's sons knew about the scheme if anything at all.
Although the millions in Bernie's foundation were managed by his own investment firm, neither son entrusted their charitable trusts to their dad. Mark Madoff's $5 million account was parked at Lehman Brothers. Andrew's $2 million trust was in an account at Neuberger Berman. Nice to know that unlike, say, Yeshiva University or Mort Zuckerman, both sons' foundations will come out unscathed by the mess their father created!