The J & L Fund is a fictitious charity made up by John when Lorraine prank called Mr. Pignati. The kids play a game they call "telephone marathon" which includes keeping strangers on the phone for as long as possible. In this case, Dennis and Norton were watching TV when John asked Mr. Pignati to donate some money. To their surprise, Mr. Pignati pledged $10.00. Since Dennis and Norton weren't around, John thought it would be best to keep it a secret because Norton is a shady kid. John explains with the following:
"If he (Norton) knew about it, he'd try to hustle in on the deal, and he'd never stop at ten dollars. I didn't want anyone really to take advantage of the old man" (31).
Apparently, Norton has a history of stealing. The first time he tried to steal, he stole a package of marshmallows and got caught. Kids at school now call him the Marshmallow Kid. It seems like a harmless nickname and situation to be tied to, but Norton went on to become a more skilled thief. Chapter 9 even starts out discussing how Norton got so messed up. They say he played with dolls when he was younger and that is why he went berserk when he was ten years old. John says Norton was never the same and starting picking fights after that. It's a wonder John even kept hanging out with Norton because he mentions the fact that he hates him as well.