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Foundation Focus WINTER 2021

The 2020 Jewish Community Foundation Board of Trustees & Staff

Celebrating Silver Linings at JCF’s 61st Annual Meeting

On December 16, more than 100 people joined together online for the Jewish Community Foundation’s 61st - but first virtual - Annual Meeting. The theme of the event was “Celebrating Silver Linings.” A famous proverb says that “every cloud has a silver lining,” a glimmering light of hope and positivity that shines through in even the darkest of times. At our Annual Meeting, the Foundation reflected on the various ways JCF and our Foundation Family have adapted, innovated, and responded to this year’s challenges with an outpouring of generosity, compassion and kindness.

The Annual Meeting began with a “Meet and Greet Room” where guests were warmly welcomed and were able to interact with one another before the program began. This experience was incredibly appreciated by guests, many of whom had not seen or connected with each other since the pandemic began in March.

JCF President Alice Jacks Achtenberg began the Annual Meeting program by thanking attendees for their valued partnership this year, before introducing the Fineman family who joyously lit the menorah in celebration of the seventh night of Hanukkah. Across Zoom, attendees recited the Hanukkah blessing with Michael and Lindsay Fineman, and their adorable daughters Lila, Scarlett, and Julia. Rabbi Nati Stern of Jewish Student Union and NCSY provided an energetic and engaging D’var Torah.

The business meeting followed which included the election of the following officers: Alice Jacks Achtenberg, President; Frank W. Lipsman, First Vice President; Edward J. Goldstein, Vice President; David R. Goodman, Vice President; James M. Klein, Vice President; Linda B. Lyon, Vice President; Alana R. Muller, Vice President; Robert V. Palan, Treasurer; Irvin V. Belzer, Immediate Past President; Lauren Mattleman Hoopes, Executive Director & Secretary; and Helene Lotman, Assistant Secretary. The following trustees were elected: Alice Jacks Achtenberg; Fay Balk; Martha Gershun; Edward J. Goldstein; Stewart S. Koesten; Peter S. Levi; Michael Liss; Alana R. Muller; Scott B. Picker; Brian M. Scharf; and Gary Weinberg. The business meeting concluded after an informative investment report by David Goodman.

In the President’s and Executive Director’s report, Alice and Lauren shared highlights of the Foundation’s work over the past year, including our distribution of approximately $900,000 in COVID relief, adaptation of our operations and programs to a virtual and work-from-home environment, and our acceptance of a Nonprofit Connect Philly Award for our 2019 Annual Report. Alice and Lauren also shared several examples of personal silver linings contributed by community members for the event. Visit jcfkc.org to see the silver linings and the video of Lauren and Alice’s report.

We Are All In This Together

Dear Friends,

This has been a year like no other. For many, if not most of us, we are experiencing a once in a lifetime crisis. It would be easy to become overwhelmed by the sense of loss. And yet….

Instead of dwelling on what we have lost, we have marshalled our resources, redoubled our commitment to our community and to one another, and have found silver linings among the clouds. This time has taught us many valuable lessons - gratitude, fragility tempered with wisdom and resilience, and the enduring importance of community for our collective survival. We are all in this together.

The Foundation has been a strong and steady guiding force through this trial and will be here into the future with your help and continued support. May we all look forward to a bright and healthy future together!

Alice Jacks Achtenberg, President, and Lauren Mattleman Hoopes, Executive Director

Spotlight on Family Philanthropy

Thanksgiving is a time when many reflect on their blessings and consider how they can share their good fortunes with others. For three families, Thanksgiving is the time when they connect with each other and focus their attention on giving their charitable dollars jointly. The Jewish Community Foundation staff provides expertise and guidance to these families and helps facilitate meaningful grant discussions. Because of the pandemic, these meetings took place via video conferencing this year.

Twenty years ago, Babs and Bill Lowenstein created the Sunday Night Fun Fund to engage their grandchildren and other relatives in a philanthropic exercise. Babs and Bill decided that 80% of the grants from this fund should support local Jewish organizations, and the rest may be granted to the general community. Traditionally held the Sunday after Thanksgiving, this year there were 25 next- generation participants from seven different families. “It makes me happy to see that the cousins are interested in nonprofit organizations and giving to charity,” says Babs. “It is a nice way to keep them in contact with each other when they aren’t living in the same city anymore.”

In 2014, Shirley White created the Lewis and Shirley White Grandchildren Fund from which her many grandchildren may grant. The White grandchildren meet annually the day after Thanksgiving to make grants which are restricted to the Kansas City Jewish community. The group works together to make decisions about which organizations and causes to support.

In 2019, Susan and Scott Krigel set aside charitable dollars for their children and their spouses to grant collectively. Susan describes her goal, stating “We wanted to create a process that enables our children and their spouses to carry forward our values of supporting human dignity and working towards tikkun olam. Josh and Bea have helped us shape and implement a structure which meets our goal.” One particularly meaningful thing about the Krigel family is that one sibling and his wife live in Chicago. For the Krigel family, the only funding guideline is that some grant dollars go to both Chicago and Kansas City.

For all three families, giving opportunities are curated by the Jewish Community Foundation so the grants reflect the interests and passions of each family. Susan Krigel further commented, “The grants they make are slightly different than what we had expected, but one of the reasons we designed the process this way was so that the donations reflect our children’s values, which represent the evolution of the community’s needs.” This year, particular emphasis was given to safety-net services and providing support to organizations that try to address social justice and fight systemic racism and discrimination.

Grants from these three funds supported the following organizations:

Local: BlaqoutKC; The Grooming Project; Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy; The J; Jewish Family Services; Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City; Jewish Vocational Service; KC Tenants; National Council of Jewish Women; Reconciliation Services; Rightfully Sewn; and University of Kansas Hillel

Chicago: Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School; Brave Space Alliance; Jewish Council on Urban Affairs; Jewish Family and Children Services; and Pilsen Neighbors Community Council

For more information about how the Foundation can assist your family in giving, contact Beatrice Fine at (913) 327-4618 or bfine@jcfkc.org.

Meet Our New Trustees

Fay Balk “I believe the Foundation is a great resource both for donors and recipients. Their focus on education is something I am very impressed by and have seen first-hand how it can help out non-profits in the community. Also, as a donor, they are really easy to work with — they make it simple for you throughout the setting up, planning and giving process. I hope I can bring experience and expertise to the Foundation, helping it continue to evolve, grow and make impact in the community.”

Michael Liss “The Foundation makes giving easier and is the first entry point of charitable giving decisions for many young Jews in the community, introducing them to the positive power of giving. As a trustee, I will contribute long-term thinking to Investment Committee discussions, so the Foundation’s assets under management continue to grow, increasing the giving power of the Foundation’s fundholders.”

Learning Together Virtually

While we yearn for the chance to reconnect and learn together in-person, the Foundation remains committed to providing educational opportunities to our community. As we enter 2021, we are proud to announce two exciting programs. On January 31, the Foundation’s J-LEAD group hosted a virtual event for young adults to explore paths to a successful financial future. A panel of professional advisors walked the participants through tax, financial and estate planning techniques, all with an emphasis on how to support important causes through smarter giving strategies.

In mid-February the Foundation will host a “Parking Lot Lunch” for Jewish agencies and synagogue leaders to explore strategies for successful planned gift fundraising in the current environment using virtual tools. Renowned non-profit consultant Amy Eisenstein will join us via Zoom to impart her wisdom and research. The Parking Lot Lunch series is part of the Foundation’s Create a Jewish Legacy initiative and is sponsored by the Sam and Lucy Gould JCF Program Fund. For more information on either of these educational programs, contact Josh Stein at (913) 327-8121 or jstein@jcfk.org.

Celebrating Silver Linings

For the Jewish Community Foundation’s Annual Meeting in December, we asked the community to share their personal silver linings of 2020. More uplifting messages are available on our website.

“The joy of adding our seventh grandchild to the family and, most of all, the resilience that surrounds us.” – Merilyn Berenbom

“New opportunities to practice humility and gratitude and experiencing the blessings of meaningful relationships.” – Irv Robinson

“I am inspired by our community’s generosity during these challenging times and that we strive to live by the words of our sacred tradition, ‘kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh.’ We are all responsible for one another.” – Annie Glickman

New Funds

Donor Advised Funds

  • Ellen Averett & Peter Smith Family Charitable Fund
  • Janet & Bruce Baker Family Fund
  • John Goldberg & Marla Brockman Tzedakah Fund
  • Debbie & Greg Greenberg Donor Advised Fund
  • Andea & Jason Krakow Charitable Fund
  • Bill & Doris Mendel Donor Advised Fund
  • Josh & Bailey Nakelsky Donor Advised Fund
  • Jonathan Schwartzbard & Kaley Wajcman Donor Advised Fund
  • Tanenbaum/Jackson Charitable Fund

Restricted Funds

  • Kansas City Jewish Community Stabilization Fund