Create A Jewish Legacy

Oregon Jewish Community Foundation has been selected as one of seven pilot communities for the new Life & Legacy – a community partnership program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

OJCF will be eligible for match funds from the Grinspoon Foundation for two years along with the guidance and mentorship of the Grinspoon organization to support Oregon’s Create A Jewish Legacy. With these added funds, the program will provide training, outreach and incentive grants for participating OJCF partner organizations to help them secure the future for themselves and, therefore, the community at large.

An often-cited 1998 study by Havens and Schervish, of the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy, documents an expected intergenerational transfer of wealth of $41 trillion to $136 trillion between 1998 and 2052. “After the economic downturn from 2000-2003, they revised the study and determined that the estimate was still valid and that at least $6 trillion will benefit charities.” (“Why You Should Promote Bequests,” by Brian Sagrestano, JD, CFRE, Planned Giving Mentor journal, June 2009.)

Create A Jewish Legacy is an OJCF initiative to engage our Jewish community, individuals and organizations in more awareness, understanding and action in this critical area. Portland and Oregon are following a national trend in the emergence of this effort, with many Jewish communities embracing Create A Jewish Legacy at some level.

Why now? The largest charitable gifts most often are created through estates. We know this from the generous examples of the late Chuck Karsun, Arthur Krishevsky and the Tarshis sisters, whose tremendous endowments support Jewish education and other important needs (see related story pages 48-49). We are losing our elders and are unsure what the next generation’s giving priorities and patterns will be. Surely, they will be different from those of their parents and grandparents. It’s urgent to work with our caring and committed leadership now and engage the next generation at the same time.

The San Diego Jewish Community Foundation’s Gail Littman, vice president of endowments and communications, introduced Create A Jewish Legacy in 2004 in San Diego. That community now has more than 800 individuals who have made bequests and other planned gifts of approximately $200 million. Littman came to Portland last May to share the successful national model she
has created.

At the June 2012 board of directors meeting, the foundation board voted to dedicate the majority of the annual distribution from the Community Endowment Fund (unrestricted) to support Create A Jewish Legacy, including funding trainings, outreach and incentive grants for participating organizations.

Currently, OJCF estimates the community endowments and legacy gifts at a combined value of between $14 million and $16 million. We don’t have good data on what our partner organizations may know in terms of other planned gifts. We are working in the community to understand this information and acknowledge these generous gifts of the future.

One exciting aspect of Create A Jewish Legacy is the development of an Endowment Book of Life, which would include personal statements and/or video stories of people such as Gloria Bacharach, who was honored as the foundation’s outstanding Legacy Society member at its June Annual Dessert Reception.

Gloria was radiant that night; a beautiful corsage adorning her elegant cream-colored suit. She was surrounded by four generations of family and numerous friends. Gloria’s children spoke of her lifelong example of kindness, generosity and caring for others. Rabbi Daniel Isaak of Congregation Neveh Shalom spoke with great affection of her steadfast presence at the synagogue. Gloria expressed her appreciation, shared family memories and wished that her beloved husband could have been there. “Any good that I may have done for our Jewish community has been a tribute to my late husband and my inspiration, Albrecht, who always reminded me that charity begins at home,” she concluded.

Eric Rosenfeld, president of the foundation, noted that Gloria’s generosity has been expressed through the establishment of a charitable trust, a charitable gift annuity and a donor advised fund with OJCF. These charitable financial vehicles will establish the Albrecht and Gloria Bacharach Memorial endowment when Gloria passes. This endowment will provide financial support in perpetuity to Congregation Neveh Shalom, Camp Solomon Schechter, Portland Jewish Academy, Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and Jewish Family & Child Service/TASK.

Planned giving combines a passion for Jewish life and values with an effective approach to charitable giving through estate planning. Gift vehicles include charitable trusts, charitable gift annuities, endowments funded with appreciated stock in the present or through the estate, and simple bequests. The process is no different than leaving an estate gift to your alma mater, an arts organization or a hospital. Historically, those kinds of organizations have been more skilled than Jewish community organizations at asking donors to leave a bequest.

Legacy development is fundamental to our community’s long-term future, and it’s exciting to see it gaining support and momentum in our community.

For more information about Create A Jewish Legacy, contact OJCF, 503-248-9328, or visit or

Julie Diamond is the executive director of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation and is a certified gift planning associate.

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