2018-06-20 / Voice at the Shore

Local LIFE & LEGACY leaders gain inspiration from philanthropist Harold Grinspoon


The meeting with philanthropist Harold Grinspoon included (first row, from left) Judy Galler; Sharon D’Angio; (second row) Richard Cohen; Rabbi Jonathan Kremer; Marg Mancuso Rosenblatt; Ellen Weisman Strenger; Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) President Winnie Sandler Grinspoon; HGF LIFE & LEGACY community consultant Dena Kaufman; (rear row) Jewish Federation of Atlantic & Cape May County Executive Director Kirk Wisemayer; LIFE & LEGACY Chair Jeff Kripitz; and Harold Grinspoon. The meeting with philanthropist Harold Grinspoon included (first row, from left) Judy Galler; Sharon D’Angio; (second row) Richard Cohen; Rabbi Jonathan Kremer; Marg Mancuso Rosenblatt; Ellen Weisman Strenger; Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) President Winnie Sandler Grinspoon; HGF LIFE & LEGACY community consultant Dena Kaufman; (rear row) Jewish Federation of Atlantic & Cape May County Executive Director Kirk Wisemayer; LIFE & LEGACY Chair Jeff Kripitz; and Harold Grinspoon. The shore area’s four-month-old LIFE & LEGACY program— which has already secured an estimated $950,000 in future financial gifts for 10 local Jewish community organizations— received a huge dose of inspiration and expertise earlier this month when eight local leaders attended the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s (HGF) LIFE & LEGACY Gathering in Springfield, MA, along with Jewish community leaders from across North America.

The shore contingent, which included representatives of the Jewish Federation/Jewish Community Foundation, the Jewish Community Center, Shirat Hayam, and Seashore Gardens Living Center, also had a private meeting with HGF founder Harold Grinspoon.

The 89-year-old philanthropist’s vision and commitment to Jewish continuity have given rise to several innovative programs, including the LIFE & LEGACY program, which provides coaching, training, and incentive grants to ensure that leaving money to cherished Jewish organizations becomes a normal part of the community’s culture. Community members are encouraged to leave a gift to one or more Jewish organizations in their will, trust, retirement account, or life insurance policy.

“Providing Jewish communities with proven tools and training to help them secure their long-term financial goals is absolutely vital. Through the LIFE & LEGACY program, I’m hopeful that we will be able to help sustain vibrant communities that allow future generations to enjoy our rich Jewish culture and heritage,” said Grinspoon.

Notably, HGF is contributing up to $100,000 annually over the next four years to help finance the shore’s LIFE & LEGACY program, which is co-funded and convened by the Jewish Federation of Atlantic & Cape May County and its Jewish Community Foundation.

“It was an honor to have the opportunity to thank Harold Grinspoon for coming up with such an innovative way to ensure that future generations of Jewish people will continue to enjoy a vibrant Jewish life,” said Jeff Kripitz, chair of the local LIFE & LEGACY program, who also had an opportunity to speak to Harold Grinspoon oneon one at the Gathering.

“Harold Grinspoon and his foundation have given us a way to bring all our agencies and synagogues together, working toward one common goal: to preserve our Jewish life in Atlantic and Cape May County,” said Kripitz. “They have also given us a doable plan for making donors feel comfortable about leaving a percent of their assets to the agencies and synagogues of their choice.”

The HGF Legacy Gathering was aimed at building skills, sharing best practices, and providing opportunities for networking among volunteers and professionals who are actively implementing the LIFE & LEGACY program.

Attending the Legacy Gathering along with Kripitz were Rabbi Jonathan Kremer and Judy Galler from Shirat Hayam; JCC CFO Marg Mancuso Rosenblatt; Richard Cohen and Sharon D’Angio from Seashore Garden Living Center; Jewish Federation Executive Director Kirk Wisemayer; and local LIFE & LEGACY Coordinator Ellen Strenger, who is also editor of Voice at the Shore.

“A conference like this makes you think about what you want your children to remember about you—about what lasting contribution you can make,” said Galler.

“It was very exciting to be with people who are as passionate about Jewish life as we are,” she added. “It’s so energizing.”

JCC’s Rosenblatt agreed, saying she was struck by the “energy and enthusiasm” that people from Jewish organizations from all over North America had for the LIFE & LEGACY program. She hopes to bring this enthusiasm—along with practical tools for ensuring the program’s success—back to the JCC and to the community as a whole, to “make our community as strong as it can be.”

To date, LIFE & LEGACY programs throughout North America have helped Jewish communities secure 19,000 legacy commitments, valued at more than $702 million. Of that, $62 million has already been placed in organizational endowments.

This money will assure the long-term financial health of Jewish organizations and synagogues, thus helping to ensure the vibrancy of Jewish life in North America for generations to come.

HGF chose the Jewish Federation of Atlantic & Cape May Counties and its Jewish Community Foundation to become a partner in the LIFE & LEGACY Program in 2017. As the local program convener, the Jewish Federation/JCF is in turn partnering with nine other local organizations to create a culture of legacy giving in our community, where people leave a gift to one or more Jewish organizations in their will, trust, retirement account, or life insurance policy.

Local LIFE & LEGACY partners include: Avoda; Beron Jewish Older Adult Services; Beth Israel; Board of Jewish Education; Katz JCC in Margate; Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties; Jewish Federation of Atlantic County/JCF; Jewish Federation of Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties; Seashore Gardens Living Center; and Shirat Hayam.

“There’s something wonderful about giving people a way to support not just your own organization but other organizations as well, added Galler, LIFE & LEGACY team leader for Shirat Hayam. “We’re stronger working together, with each Jewish organization doing its part for the greater whole.”

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