ADL reports surge in donations following election

President-elect Donald Trump
President-elect Donald Trump

The Anti-Defamation League has seen a spike in donations following Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election and a spate of anti-Semitic and racist incidents around the country.

The day after the election, the ADL saw a 50-fold increase in the number of online daily donations, according to Todd Gutnick, the organization’s vice president for communications. Gutnick added that that level of online giving continued through last week and increased this week.

He said about 75 percent of donations came from first-time givers to the ADL.

“Many of the new donors are most interested in seeing ADL scale up its work in the cyberhate space, where the anti-Semitism and hate speech has been most alarming,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL.  “They are asking us to devote some those funds to monitoring, exposing and disrupting cyberhate.”

On Sunday, the ADL released a statement “strongly opposing” Trump’s choice of Steve Bannon for the position of senior advisor and chief strategist, faulting Bannon for presiding over “the premier website of the Alt Right, a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists.”

Liberal Jewish groups such as the National Jewish Democratic Committee and Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism also faulted Trump for tapping Bannon, but other groups such as the American Jewish Committee stopped short of criticizing Trump for choosing Bannon.

Gutnick cautioned against linking the surge in donations too strongly to the statement on Bannon, pointing out that the majority of post-election donations to the ADL came before Trump’s selection of Bannon.

“We don’t exactly know why there’s been an increase, but the fact that there’s been so many anti-Semitic attacks both online and off since the election seems to have driven the spike in contributions, in addition to independent web sites who are encouraging donations to civil rights organizations, including ADL, in the aftermath of the election,” he said.

Last month, the ADL released a detailed report on anti-Semitism online, which highlighted people who identify as Trump supporters that target Jewish journalists with anti-Semitic attacks. The report’s accompanying press release said “this does not imply that the Trump campaign supported or endorsed the anti-Semitic tweets, only that certain self-styled supporters sent these ugly messages.”

Although Gutnick declined to disclose the how much the ADL has raised since the election, he said that the group is hearing from major donors who are making “significant increases in their giving in light of the election, including some new, six-figure commitments.”

Gutnick added that the ADL is also receiving 10-to-20 times the normal call volume in its 26 regional field offices.

The ADL will hold its first-ever Never is Now summit on anti-Semitism Thursday in New York City, where Gutnick said the organization will release more details on how it will fight online anti-Semitism.

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