2018-07-18 / Columns

JCF can help guide you toward your philanthropic goals

Executive Director, Jewish Community Foundation


According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, this is how much money was donated to charity by New Jersey residents who itemized their taxes in 2015 (the most recent figures). It is the 10th highest amount out of all 50 states. With a population of around nine million people, New Jersey is the 11th most populous state.

Here are a few more statistics that paint the picture of charitable giving in New Jersey:

• In 2015, New Jersey residents donated about two percent of their income, but if we gave at the same ratio as the national average of about three percent, our state would have given an additional $3.2-billion to charity in 2015.

• NJ’s per capita income is among the highest in the nation. In 2013, the state had the second largest number of millionaires per capita in the United States (ratio of 7.49 percent), according to a study by Phoenix Marketing International.

• Importantly, because of the recent tax law changes that raised the standard deductions, in 2015, the top income earners (those making $200,000 or more annually) accounted for more than half of all itemized contributions in the country.

• It’s notable that by delving into countywide data, we find that residents of Burlington and Camden counties both gave at a rate of 2.2 percent, ranking these counties as tied for fourth place out of 21 counties in the state, while Gloucester County ranked 14th.

Numbers can be dry and uninteresting, but there are usually fascinating stories behind statistics.

Statistics help explain who we are. What defines us is what we do.

The Jewish Community Foundation’s (JCF) mission is to foster and facilitate sustainable philanthropy to support the needs of our Jewish community here, in Israel, and around the world. This is what we do. We are committed to assisting anyone who is looking for the best means to help themselves, and us, achieve our critical mission.

We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your philanthropic passions, and we can guide you with questions you may have, such as how to determine what charities are most aligned with a donor’s giving interests? What are the most efficient ways to donate? And one that we hear often—how do I get my kids (or grandkids) involved in philanthropy?

Each donor has his or her own interests and passions, values and goals, and more, when it comes to philanthropic giving.

When you open a fund at the JCF, you have only just begun steering your charitable dollars toward organizations and causes you care deeply about. Our stewardship of these dollars will ensure they are professionally managed until they reach any charitable destination you choose. These destinations can include a financially needy college student, your synagogue, and a nonprofit whose mission you support. And, of course, you can directly support the JCF— South Jersey’s premier community foundation.

As the writer and physician Bernie Siegel wrote, “Stories change people, while statistics give them something to argue about.”

Rona Mann, a JCF scholarship recipient who attended nursing school, wrote about the financial award she received: “This means everything to me. I hope to receive my doctorate within the next few years and be able to give back to the JCF [by creating a scholarship]. This I promise you.”

Rona’s story, and thousands like hers, came to fruition thanks to the help of a JCF donor. She may be lost in the shuffle of some of the statistics I quoted earlier, but to the JCF, she’s much more than that. That’s not something anyone can argue about. 


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