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L’Chaim!

Another prominent Jewish family in New York is giving to Christian mission hospitals

L’Chaim!

Barry and Dolly Segal (Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Malaikla10)

A New York moment:

Last year I wrote a profile of a Jewish philanthropist here in Manhattan who gives millions of dollars to Christian mission hospitals in Africa. Mark Gerson considers these mission hospitals to be doing high-quality healthcare for a bargain price, so he believes he’s making a smart philanthropic investment and having a massive impact on African health in the process. 

Now Gerson has recruited another prominent Jewish philanthropist, Barry Segal, to give to these Christian hospitals. Segal is the founder of Bradco, a massive building material supply company. The Gerson family had offered a $100,000 matching grant, and the Segal Family Foundation met the match. The Segals’ $100,000 gift will go to construct housing for family medicine trainees in Malawi and for faculty doctors in Uganda.

Gerson’s African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), which he started with his college friend, missionary doctor Jon Fielder, gives to specific projects or needs at mission hospitals. AMHF sometimes funds a residency for a surgeon or builds a new wing at a hospital. Fielder, who lives and works at a mission hospital in Kenya, is the eyes and ears on the ground for what mission hospitals need.

The Segals specialize in giving lots of small grants to local community organizations in Africa, and some of their grantees are Christian groups. Their foundation gives about $15 million a year to African organizations, but its maximum grant is $100,000, the amount it designated for AMHF.

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Tumaini International’s Girls High School in Machakos, a grantee of the Segal Family Foundation. (Facebook)

“In sub-Saharan Africa, we like to find small operations where a little money can help them grow and expand,” Segal has said.

Gerson often describes the current era as the historic peak of Christian-Jewish friendship, and those bonds seem to be growing, with the friendship of at least two prominent Jewish families extended to Christian missionaries.

Worth your time:  

The experienced art market reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Kelly Crow, writes about the hot contemporary art market and how it can chew up and spit out a young “it” artist. In this case Crow follows Nigerian artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby, whose pieces went from selling for $3,000 to selling for $3 million in the space of a few years. Prices for hot artists sometimes crash quickly, leaving young artists in professional ruins. As an aside, I like what I saw in the article of Akunyili Crosby’s work, and will try to see if any of her pieces are in New York museums or galleries.

This week I learned:

Back in 1912, American cuisine was making a splash in Paris, as The New York Times reported on “the lure of the Boston baked bean.”

A court case you might not know about: 

It’s not a court case yet, but news broke that the Manhattan district attorney is investigating allegations against a group of professors at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice involving prostitution of students and drugs. (The New York Post first broke this story, but its article is very graphic.) John Jay is a well-known training ground for top law enforcement in New York. If these allegations prove to be true about a particular culture at John Jay, it becomes less surprising that New York Police Department officers can run a prostitution ring for years without being caught. That major scandal came to light last week, resulting in arrests of at least a dozen people, including many police officers.

Culture I am consuming: 

The great Dolly Parton recorded a new version of her 1971 song, “Here I Am,” as a duet with another singer, Sia. It’s good stuff.

Email me with tips, story ideas, and feedback at ebelz@wng.org