Tuesday, January 21, 2020

(Courtesy of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest) The numbers are impressive… to date, 1,003 legacy gifts amounting to an estimated value of $28.7 million to support the future of 23 local Jewish institutions—16 synagogues and 7 agencies—and all in just five years!

“When our Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ (JCF) signed on to be a part of this innovative Create a Jewish Legacy program, none of us could have imagined that in five short years we’d be talking about more than 1,000 legacy gifts. This is a milestone our whole community should be proud of!” said JCF President Robert Kuchner.

Create a Jewish Legacy (CJL) is designed to help organizations within the Jewish community remain vibrant for generations to come. Each organization—be it a synagogue or a partner service agency—plays a huge role in the lives of its many congregants or clients. By making a legacy gift, participants help build the endowment fund of their beloved institutions in the form of bequests in their wills, beneficiary designations for retirement accounts or life insurance policies, or other gift-planning methods. It enables donors to make a meaningful gift now that will be paid out only after they pass away.

While JCF and CJL provide personalized training, nationwide best practices, marketing materials and coaching to empower the successful solicitation of legacy gifts, it’s the organizations’ legacy teams that set their own goals, reach out to members and supporters and do all the legwork.

Said Dr. Samantha Pozner, legacy donor and legacy team leader at Congregation Ohr Shalom-Summit JCC, “Participating as a team leader for my synagogue has been an amazingly and surprisingly fulfilling experience. After just one information session, my husband and I adjusted our IRA to include both our synagogue and another one of the community partner organizations, which then made it easier to ask other congregants to participate. The best part was getting the opportunity to meet with people I didn’t know that well or didn’t know at all, hearing their stories, and helping them to remember that our synagogue is a worthwhile cause for them to support, today and in the future.”

Greater MetroWest is one of 58 communities in North America participating in this program under the umbrella of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s Life & Legacy initiative. And it is the first to reach this benchmark of 1,000 formalized gifts.

“Mazel tov to Greater MetroWest NJ for being the first Life & Legacy community in North America to exceed 1,000 formalized legacy gifts!” wrote Life & Legacy National Director Arlene D. Schiff. “I’ve gotten to know many of the staff, lay leadership and legacy team leaders, and I’m inspired by the way you have taken this program and run with it. We at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation thank you for your commitment to changing the language and landscape of giving in your community. You continue to provide generous and forward-thinking members of your community with the opportunity to express their passion, purpose and commitment to the Jewish future.”

CJL is unique because it encourages legacy giving to local organizations, places that touch the lives of those in our Jewish community on a regular basis. Collectively, the Grinspoon initiative has amassed just under a billion dollars in estimated future gifts within 58 Jewish communities throughout North America, of which $97 million has already been placed in organizations’ endowments.

“One of the primary missions of our Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ is to build for the future in order to ensure that our Jewish community remains vibrant and thriving for generations to come. Create a Jewish Legacy is a key factor in this effort,” said Federation CEO Dov Ben-Shimon. “We should all be grateful for the leadership of inaugural CJL Chair Ken Heyman, immediate past-Chair Gary Botwinick, current Chair Michael Schechner, JCF President Robert Kuchner, JCF Executive Director Stanley Stone, Create a Jewish Legacy Program Manager Karen Secular and most of all the legacy teams for their commitment.”

For more information on Create a Jewish Legacy in Greater MetroWest NJ contact Karen Secular, program manager, at [email protected] or 973-929-2918.