New Haven’s Jewish Foundation Hits the Big Five-O

By Judie Jacobson

The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater New Haven hit a significant milestone last week, when a distribution from an estate put the grant-giving organization at well over $50 million in endowments.

In announcing the milestone, however, Foundation Chair Jeff Hoos and Foundation Director Lisa A. Stanger, were quick to point out that the milestone achievement was hardly about any single gift. “That just happened to be the one that put us well over the top,” said Stanger, “but it is all the gifts until now that have resulted in where we are today.”

According to Hoos and Stanger, the $50 milion+ endowment is made up of more than 600 individual endowments and charitable trusts, over 90% of which are designated or restricted mostly for local Jewish organizations. In the 2014 calendar year, the Jewish Foundation distributed more than $3.1 million — $2.59 million of which went to local synagogues and Jewish organizations.

“We are all so proud of what the Foundation has done in our community,” says Hoos. “Last year a $1 million grants initiative plus over $3 million in charitable distributions and the Create a Jewish Legacy initiative. This is something passed down to us that we are stewarding and growing for the next generation.“

Stanger agrees.

“The Jewish Foundation has continued its mandate as a partner to and a resource for the New Haven Jewish community, “ she notes. “Over the last few years we have seen incredible success for some of our agencies and synagogues, who now have sizeable endowments which will provide funding to them year after year. For example, in 2008 the Federation’s PACE funds were $1.2million, they are now $7 million. That same year Jewish Family Service had $558,000 in endowments and now they have $2.2 million, which distributed $75,000 to them this year. Similarly Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel had $300,000 in endowments in 2006 and now they have $3.4million, providing them with $134,000 in income this year.”

Founded in 1993, initially as a department of the Jewish Federation, the Jewish Community Foundation was the vision of community leaders Arthur Eder, Sam Glazer and Pat Goodwin – all three now deceased — who believed early on that a community endowment was vital to sustain future generations in Jewish New Haven. The three spent countless hours meeting with community members one-on-one to encourage current and planned giving targeted towards the particular Jewish agency or synagogue of importance to the individual donor. Those gifts, say Hoos and Stanger, are still giving today through annual distributions in the community.

Stanger vividly recalls what Goodwin z”l had to say several years after their efforts paid off: “As I look at it now, I don’t know what the community would be like without the Foundation. The agencies, the synagogues, depend on the income they receive from Foundation endowments. The endowments have helped and will continue to help us feed those in need, provide Jewish camping and education, as well as programs for the frail and elderly.”

It’s important to note, says Stanger, that the Jewish organizations aren’t the only ones benefiting from Foundation endowments. There’s something in it for donors to.

“Endowments secure an organization’s future by providing income year after year,” she says, “and it also allows donors a chance to leave their legacy in the community by establishing an endowment in their name or the name of a loved one. Many donors start small funds during their lifetime and then add to them through their Will or insurance or an IRA, they see the community, their synagogue, their favorite agency, as one of their heirs.”

While they celebrate the $50 million milestone, the Foundation’s leadership is not content to rest on their laurels.

“We look forward to the next milestone of $100 million,” says Hoos, “so that we can continue to provide for the our community here, overseas and in Israel.”


CAP: Pat Goodwin z”l was one of three founders of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford.

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