The theme we’ve chosen for this year’s Annual Report is “Connecting Our Giving Community.” In 2017, we gathered important information about what our fundholders and other stakeholders wanted most from the Foundation, and we learned that opportunities to connect with each other to grow philanthropy was very important to them. Using this as a goal, we put together an innovative and fun new series of donor engagement experiences in 2018, designed and hosted by Foundation fundholders for Foundation fundholders. Each program provided an opportunity to come together with other members of our Foundation Family to socialize, network, and learn from one another about smart new ways to make a philanthropic impact.
The results were even better than we imagined, with dozens of Foundation Family members sharing ideas about opportunities and challenges in giving, networking in philanthropy, and next-gen engagement. The program will continue over the next year, with new topics and new venues for these thought-provoking and enjoyable events. We hope that you will join us for one or more of them. You can find more information at jcfkc.org/community.
“Connecting” through the Foundation happens in so many ways – there is a way “in” that suits almost everyone. This Annual Report will give you a glimpse of both the common and unique ways the Foundation connects our community, and we hope you enjoy it.
This year and every year, thanks to all of you for making the Jewish Community Foundation the thriving community catalyst it is and for your commitment and caring for Jewish life in Kansas City and around the world.
Alice Jacks Achtenberg, President and Lauren Mattleman Hoopes, Executive Director
Our Programs: B'nai Tzedek
The B’nai Tzedek program introduces B’nai Mitzvah-age youth to charitable giving by allowing them to open their own philanthropic funds at the Foundation. Teens and their families make a minimum donation of $125 to open a fund, and the Foundation contributes $375, for a total fund balance of at least $500. Every year participants may grant 10% of their fund balance to a Jewish agency. For greater engagement, teens may join the B’nai Tzedek Youth Council, a cadre that meets once a month to discuss philanthropic issues and plan the B’nai Tzedek Shuk, the Foundation’s annual youth philanthropy fair.
In 2018, the Foundation raised nearly $100,000 to replenish the B’nai Tzedek “Mother Fund,” which is the source of matching donations for new B’nai Tzedek Funds. The generous donors who contributed are helping to sustain B’nai Tzedek for years to come and ensure the program may continue growing the next generation of givers.
“Helping the community is important to me, and B’nai Tzedek has given me the outlet to do just that. Participating on the B’nai Tzedek Youth Council has taught me how to act as a leader in our community, both behind the scenes and connecting with people and charities in the community at the annual Shuk. I have also increased my communication abilities and strengthened my Jewish friendships. By being able to give charitable dollars every year, I feel a direct impact of my actions. I know that I can make a difference with tikkun olam (repairing the world) even if I am still in high school.”
- SUSANNA KING
Our Programs: J-LEAD
J-LEAD is a giving circle that makes grants from funds collected by its members ($500 charitable contribution for membership) as well as matching funds from the Jewish Community Foundation’s Community Legacy Fund and other generous Foundation donors. By joining together and pooling resources, J-LEAD members are able to achieve a greater impact than any one member could alone.
“Being relatively recent arrivals to Kansas City, we actively sought out ways to become a part of our new community. J-LEAD offered a great opportunity to meet other young families while also making a contribution to our new city. Most importantly, it provides a path for us to demonstrate the principle of ‘tzedakah in action’ to our daughter.”
- JERAMY ZIMMERMAN & JOSHUA HOFFMAN
Our Programs: Create a Jewish Legacy
Create a Jewish Legacy (CJL) is the Foundation’s effort to help secure the long-term future of community programs and institutions through an emphasis on planned giving. Goals of the program include securing planned gift commitments, building and maintaining strong relationships between donors and organizations, developing strong leaders, and building public awareness of planned giving.
In October 2018, more than 100 community members gathered at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center for Foundation for Our Future, JCF’s biennial community-wide celebration of legacy giving. The event honored the many donors who have established planned gifts to local Jewish agencies and synagogues through the Create a Jewish Legacy program.
The evening of celebration and recognition also featured the Endowment Book of Life signing ceremony. The Endowment Book of Life honors those who have made arrangements for a permanent commitment of $10,000 or more to a local Jewish organization or synagogue. This inspirational book reflects our proud philanthropic tradition: a promise from one generation to the next that the values of our Jewish heritage will be preserved.
“When I was 10 years old, I won a national invention contest out of 13,000 entries for my Storm Sleeper invention - which I have now turned into a business. As exciting as this incredible journey has been for me, the most amazing and rewarding part has been that I was able to create my own Donor Advised Fund from my prize winnings at only 11 years old. I created the Storm Sleeper to help others - for people like me (and pets) who have a fear of storms and to help people who have PTSD, autism and other sensory issues.
Throughout the contest, I was repeatedly asked what I would do if I won the grand prize money. My answer was an easy one - I wanted to give back to my community. I am passionate about several causes that I’m now able to help using my own JCF Donor Advised Fund. I love that I will be able to give back for many years to come, since my Fund will continue to grow as I grow up. I have experienced and witnessed my parents’ and grandparents’ charitable involvement in our philanthropic community. I am so excited to now be able to give back on my own and know that the Foundation will help me along the way.”
- JULIA LUETJE
“Charitable values are an important part of our identity as a family. The Jewish Community Foundation has played a meaningful role in our philanthropic journey through every stage. We were involved in the J-LEAD program, a young adult giving circle, where we were inspired by the great projects within our community and the chance to leverage our gifts with other like-minded people. Five years ago, we opened a Donor Advised Fund that has helped us give more efficiently and strategically. Recently, our fifteen-year-old son, Gilli, opened his own B’nai Tzedek fund with which he can support Jewish organizations in our community and in Israel. Over the past few months, we have loved the opportunity to connect with other charitably-minded individuals through the Foundation’s ‘Connecting our Giving Community’ series and have been enriched by the wonderful people involved in JCF.”
- KAREN & JEFFRY GERSON
Community is Our Middle Name
The following organizations have selected the Jewish Community Foundation as the trusted steward of their charitable resources.
Congregation Beth Shalom
Congregation Beth Torah
Congregation Ohev Sholom
Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy
Jewish Community Campus
Jewish Community Center (The J)
Jewish Community Relations Bureau/ American Jewish Committee
Jewish Family Services
Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City
Jewish Vocational Service
Kehilath Israel Synagogue
Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation
Midwest Center for Holocaust Education
New Reform Temple
Temple Beth Sholom, Topeka
The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah
“For us, creating a charitable legacy is about making a meaningful gift to organizations that we really care about based on the capacity that we have. JCF helped us implement our plan that will enable us to do something important at the end of our lives for the charities that we really care about. While we envisioned this process as a way for us to model our values system for our sons, we were so moved by their response, ‘You’ve worked hard for what you’ve done, it’s your choice, it’s the things you care about, that’s what we want you to do.’ One of the best things about going through this process now, rather than waiting until later in our lives, was the ability to make decisions while we are still active and engaged in these organizations. It has been a calming and secure feeling that we were doing the right thing.”
- GAIL & GARY WEINBERG
“We have received immeasurable gifts from our Kansas City Jewish community over many years – particularly Jewish knowledge, traditions and values – and for that we are truly grateful. These gifts have shaped our lives in wonderful ways, and we hope those who come after us will have the opportunity to enjoy these gifts as well.”
- CATHY & JEFF ALPERT
“As both of us grew up in the KC Jewish community, we have been able to experience firsthand the positive impact Jewish organizations have on our local community and abroad. Judaism and its traditions have been fundamental in shaping the people we are today. We hope to impart the same love for the Jewish community to our four children so that one day they will continue to support important organizations that contribute to making this world a better place.”
- RACHEL & DAVID SOSLAND
Menorah Heritage Foundation
The Menorah Heritage Foundation (MHF), a supporting organization of the Jewish Community Foundation, was founded in April 2016 as the result of a merger between the Jewish Heritage Foundation Supporting Organization and the Menorah Legacy Foundation. Both predecessor foundations were created from the roots of Menorah Hospital. Today Menorah Heritage Foundation remains deeply committed to Menorah Hospital’s tradition of healing and compassionate service. Jewish tradition holds that every act of goodness — every mitzvah commanded by the Torah — contributes to the ultimate repair of the world (tikkun olam), and that feeding the hungry, healing the sick and comforting the bereaved are building blocks for redemption. This tradition guides MHF’s work as a community funder.
MHF’s grantmaking is guided by the following principles: perpetuating the Jewish community; addressing critical and severe Greater Kansas City and Jewish community needs; anticipating and adapting to changing needs; and investing in transformational change.
The Menorah Heritage Foundation maintains four distinct annual grant making cycles which fund both proactive, transformational strategies and safety-net needs: Healthy for Life, Jewish Community, General Community Core and Older Adult. Since 1994, the Menorah Heritage Foundation and its predecessors have distributed nearly $64,000,000 to organizations in the Jewish and Greater Kansas City communities.
MHF grants in 2018 supported over 95 programs at 83 different organizations including Amethyst Place, Don Bosco Centers, Guadalupe Centers, the Heritage Center at The J, High Aspirations, Hillcrest Transitional Housing, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, Inclusion Connections, Jewish Family Services, Jewish Vocational Service, Kanbe’s Markets, Midwest Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), Palestine Senior Activity Center, Platte Senior Services, Reconciliation Services, the Rabbinical Association of Greater KC, Sleepyhead Beds, Sunflower House, TribeKC, United Inner City Services/St. Mark Center, and Village Shalom.