By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Imagine the impact that half a million dollars would have on our Jewish community. Not as a one-off, but half a million dollars every year – in perpetuity.
More funding to give helping hands to families in need. More ways to provide learning opportunities for all ages. More programs bringing people to Jewish culture and community. More financial peace of mind for the Jewish organizations that serve and connect us with Jewish life. A brighter promise for the vibrant Jewish future that we want to leave for our children and grandchildren.
Imagining what half a million dollars per year, every year, could accomplish for our community is not idle speculation. It’s real money that can be expected as income streams from endowments that have been created and enlarged through the LIFE & LEGACY® Program. The Federation is in Year 3 of the four-year legacy-giving program that we’re carrying out in partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, thanks to support from our generous donors. Since the program’s inception, $11.5 million in legacy gift commitments have been secured for local Jewish organizations.
Federation is investing in this program for Jewish Puget Sound organizations because it supports our focus of ensuring Jewish continuity. An endowment is a valuable tool for any Jewish organization, regardless of size. Funding that endowments generate, year after year, is not only important for keeping the lights on today but for providing the financial security essential for planning and building for tomorrow. A legacy gift is one that anyone can make to an endowment, regardless of your means. Through training and the collaborative learning that LIFE & LEGACY encourages, the 13 organizations participating in the LIFE & LEGACY cohort are making legacy giving an everyday element of Jewish philanthropy.
The proof of what endowments can accomplish is in performance. The Seattle Jewish Community Endowment Fund was established by the Federation over a half-century ago and today stewards over $65 million through funds established by individuals, families, and our local Jewish organizations. In 2018 alone, the endowment made nearly $2.5 million in grants for local and national Jewish organizations, for Israel, and for secular organizations.
Looking beyond Year 4 of LIFE & LEGACY, because the program cohort organizations have established a strong foundation of legacy giving, we look forward to their continued progress in building their endowments, ensuring their long-term sustainability, and investing in the future of Jewish life. May the half a million dollars grow to one million and beyond!