Yossi Prager

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service

Yossi Prager is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service.  He is also the Executive Director for North America of The AVI CHAI Foundation, a philanthropy founded by Zalman C. Bernstein.  Under Mr. Prager’s leadership since 1994, AVI CHAI has invested over $300 million to benefit the field of Jewish education.  Mr. Prager led the North American operation as the Foundation developed its strategic priorities, hired staff and developed philanthropic programs.  With AVI CHAI spending down by 2020, Mr. Prager’s leadership shifted in recent years to building collaborations with other funders and capacity building at key grant recipients. 

A graduate of Yeshiva College and Yale Law School, Mr. Prager practiced law at Debevoise & Plimpton in Manhattan before joining AVI CHAI. 

In addition to Mr. Prager’s work at AVI CHAI, he serves on the boards of communal and public policy organizations.  Mr. Prager served on The Governor’s Study Commission on New Jersey’s Nonpublic Schools, which produced recommendations for greater state support for New Jersey private and parochial schools.

Mr. Prager is a noted speaker and writes frequently.  He edited a book on Judaism and philanthropy entitled “Toward a Renewed Ethic of Jewish Philanthropy” and has been published in Philanthropy Magazine, eJewishphilanthropy.com and other publications. 

With over $700 billion in assets and grantmaking exceeding $50 billion/year, private charitable foundations are a source of concentrated social and political influence in American society. Despite the fact that their giving represents only 15% of the $330+ billion given to U.S. charitable causes annually, many believe that foundations exert a disproportionately large degree of influence on the political and social development of our country due to their institutional approach to grantmaking and long-term commitment to specific issues and approaches. Through this course, students will gain an understanding of the roles and influence of philanthropy on political advocacy and social change movements in the US (with differing views on the appropriateness of this influence); the scope and diversity of the philanthropic sector; political advocacy approaches and social movements; and examples of current philanthropic involvement in advocacy and social change efforts across the political spectrum.

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With over $700 billion in assets and grantmaking exceeding $50 billion/year, private charitable foundations are a source of concentrated social and political influence in American society. Despite the fact that their giving represents only 15% of the $330+ billion given to U.S. charitable causes annually, many believe that foundations exert a disproportionately large degree of influence on the political and social development of our country due to their institutional approach to grantmaking and long-term commitment to specific issues and approaches. Through this course, students will gain an understanding of the roles and influence of philanthropy on political advocacy and social change movements in the US (with differing views on the appropriateness of this influence); the scope and diversity of the philanthropic sector; political advocacy approaches and social movements; and examples of current philanthropic involvement in advocacy and social change efforts across the political spectrum.

Download Syllabus