2017-12-06 / Voice at the Shore

LIFE & LEGACY ensures future of local Jewish community

A $59 trillion intergenerational transfer of wealth is now underway in North America. Museums, hospitals and universities are well aware of this and are pursuing after-life—or “legacy”—gifts from the older generation that is passing their wealth on—and it is time for local Jewish organizations to actively seek these gifts as well.

That was one of the many important messages delivered by Dena Kaufman, a LIFE & LEGACY Program Community Legacy Consultant for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF), during a Nov. 16 dinner hosted by the Jewish Federation of Atlantic and Cape May Counties and its Jewish Community Foundation, which is working in partnership with HGF to coordinate the LIFE & LEGACY program locally.

The event, “Why LEGACY? Why now?” explained the rationale behind the Grinspoon Foundation’s LIFE & LEGACY program, which was created to encourage Jewish organizations throughout North America to pursue legacy gifts. The LIFE & LEGACY Program is now about to kick into high gear here at the Shore, which is one of nine communities nationwide selected to begin the program this year.

Roughly 100 people attended the dinner, which took place at Congregation Beth Israel in Northfield. Attendees included leaders of most local Jewish organizations, as well as interested community members who wanted to learn more about LIFE & LEGACY.

Shore area Jewish organizations have until December 15 to apply to be part of the local program, said Kaufman. Organizations accepted will receive training and incentive grants of up to $10,000 per year. In return, each organization must commit to obtain 18- 25 legacy commitments per year.

This means that over the course of the four-year program, many Jewish community members will be asked to support the organizations they most cherish—and help shape the community’s future—by making an after-life gift.

Such gifts include a bequest of cash or assets from a will or trust, or a percentage of a retirement plan or life insurance policy, Kaufman explained.

Jeff Kripitz, who owns an insurance company in Northfield, is chairing the programs locally for Federation. A former Federation president, Kripitz said he views the program as an extraordinary opportunity for the community to come together and assure its future.

The fact that 100 people turned out for the kick-off event is a very positive sign, noted Ellen Strenger, Federation’s Life & Legacy Coordinator. “All communities in the Life and Legacy Program hold a kickoff event like this, but not even the big cities get the kind of turnout that we had. The fact that our small city had such a big turnout is pretty incredible. It shows how many people here really care about our Jewish community and its future.”

According to Kaufman, there are 52 communities throughout North America that have initiated the program. These programs have already realized $54.5 million for their Jewish communities, and the estimated value of future legacy commitments made through the program is $613.2 million.

For more information about the LIFE & LEGACY Program, call the Jewish Federation at (609) 822- 4404 or email Ellen Strenger, Life & Legacy Coordinator, at Ellen@Jewishbytheshore.org. 

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