Birmingham Foundations plan holiday push for endowment commitments

As the Jewish community enters the year 5780 on the Hebrew calendar, Jewish institutions in the Birmingham area and beyond are emphasizing the future.

The Birmingham Jewish Foundation, the Temple Beth-El Foundation and the Rabbi Grafman Endowment Fund of Temple Emanu-El are joining forces, starting with the High Holy Days, to promote “Live Your Jewish Legacy: Our Community In Perpetuity.”

The Foundations are encouraging everyone to strengthen Jewish life today and tomorrow, either through establishing a future bequest and/or providing a current financial gift.

While annual campaigns and fundraisers provide for current needs, Foundation funds are kept in perpetuity and invested, and the income generated by those funds can be used for current needs and programs. For many institutions and organizations, Foundation income provides a significant boost every year.

“Foundation is our pathway to ensuring the stability and vitality of our community,” said Seth Wolnek, president of the Beth-El Foundation. “Sometimes people hear statements like this and think it requires a big financial commitment. While large gifts are one way, a series of ongoing incremental gifts can also create a fund which will support a specific program or activity. For now and for the future.”

Jann Blitz, executive director of Emanu-El’s Grafman Fund, added “We have worked collaboratively over the years in providing joint educational legacy programs for our community. I am pleased that we are now also working together on this umbrella marketing effort to raise awareness and encourage people to think about initiating a legacy gift to benefit those Jewish organizations that they care about in their lifetime — and we certainly hope that their synagogue is one of them.”

Sally Friedman, executive director of the Birmingham Jewish Foundation, said “Live Your Jewish Legacy” will represent a broad cross-section of the local Jewish community and the Jewish world, “in a spirit of unity.”

The Birmingham Jewish Foundation also includes the Foundations for Knesseth Israel, Huntsville’s Temple B’nai Sholom, the Birmingham Jewish Federation, Levite Jewish Community Center, Collat Jewish Family Services, N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, and Hillels at the University of Alabama and Auburn University. The Foundation also manages funds that benefit Jewish summer camping, and for Israel and world Jewry needs.

Friedman said more information about the program will be forthcoming as the holidays draw closer.