2018-06-20 / Columns

The impact of JCF scholarship funds lasts for a lifetime

Executive Director, Jewish Community Foundation

A lot can happen in 20 years.

Just over two decades ago, in 1997, construction completed on the Jewish Community Campus, a landmark occurrence for the Southern New Jersey Jewish community. Since opening, this campus has become the hub of activity for our Jewish community, and all of us here at the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. are proud to call it home.

In 1999, the JCF announced its first JCF Grant opportunities. Since that time, the JCF has awarded close to $2-million in grants to support dozens of local Jewish and secular organizations, by providing seed funding for hundreds of new and innovative programs. Perhaps you or a loved one has even benefited from a JCF-funded initiative.

In 2000, the JCF awarded its first scholarship awards to two recipients, thanks to the creation of the Robert L. Schattner Scholarship Award Endowment Fund. Our awards have continued to grow ever since. This year, we awarded approximately $20,000 in Scholarship & Emerging Leader Awards from 11 separate endowment funds. Collectively, these awards aid local scholars in achieving their educational dreams and Jewish community professionals in advancing their careers.

Let’s hear from one donor who has helped make this possible. Sixteen years ago, Carol Roth established a new endowment fund with the JCF. Take a moment to appreciate her story about how and why she started the award:

“When my technology-savvy husband, Len Hirschfeld, passed away in 2002, my family and extended family suggested that we all contribute to a meaningful memorial through the Jewish Federation. After discussion with Jeff Klein (the JCF’s executive director at the time), I decided that an annual scholarship funding the purchase of an item related to technology (such as a computer) would be a fitting tribute. Over the years, the amount of money in the fund has increased and more and more students are able to benefit.

“Now, when four or five college bound seniors are named as winners at the Scholarship Awards Ceremony each June, I am deeply gratified that my family’s initial donations and ongoing additions to the fund are helping to support the education of our future computer scientists and professionals in multiple fields. Establishing this fund really makes philanthropy personal.

“By establishing this scholarship with JCF, I not only know that this will be a lasting remembrance to Len in the community where he lived, but I also have the satisfaction of knowing that the fund will be well-managed and that an annual percentage of the money will go to supporting the Jewish community at-large.

“Others who may consider establishing scholarships with JCF for deserving youth will feel the gratification of doing their part for Tikkun Olam.”

Carol’s touching and inspirational story reflects just one example out of hundreds of a JCF donor making a positive, long-term impact on this community.

On June 25, the JCF will honor all of the awardees at our annual Scholarship & Emerging Leader Awards Dessert Reception. Award donors and awardees (and their families) alike find this to be a memorable event as they have the chance to interact with one another and celebrate important accomplishments.

If you have given some thought to starting your own scholarship award endowment fund with the JCF, I encourage you to join us at this special event.

You’ll witness community spirit at its best.

Please contact me today for more details and to reserve your complimentary seat. I would be delighted to have you as our guest. And I state with confidence that you will remember the smiling faces of the awardees, their families, and the donors well beyond 20 years from now. 


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