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JEF to Take Over Create a Jewish legacy

WESTERN MASS. – As of Sept. 1, Create a Jewish Legacy (CJL), which has assisted Jewish organizations in Western Massachusetts in securing after-lifetime gifts through the building of endowments since 2008, will be administered solely by the Jewish Endowment Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts.

Create a Jewish Legacy, funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) in collaboration with the Jewish Endowment Foundation (JEF), has for the past seven years educated professionals and lay leaders about the importance of acquiring legacy gifts, offered trainings and one-on-one consulting and provided incentives to motivate organizations and donors to engage in legacy conversations. Since then, Create a Jewish Legacy has received a total of 940 legacy commitments from 634 households, with an estimated value of $22 million that will flow to 19 Jewish agencies including local day schools, synagogues, social service agencies and other nonprofits.

The brainchild of the San Diego Jewish Community Foundation, the program model was adopted in Western Massachusetts and has since gone national. HGF’s LIFE & LEGACY program is currently in 23 communities across the country with plans to impact a minimum of 70 communities during a 10-year period.

“We are grateful beyond words to The Harold Grinspoon Foundation and especially to Harold Grinspoon personally for having the vision to bring this program to Western Massachusetts and to partner with us for so many years,” says Linda Minoff, director of JEF, which manages more than $41 million. “Philanthropic advisors tell us that by 2025 financially sound nonprofits will need to rely on endowment funds for roughly 20 percent of their annual operating budget. Our job is to make sure that our local Jewish organizations focus on building their endowments so that they are well positioned to benefit from this stream of income when it is needed.”

“The idea of making an after-lifetime gift is really quite simple,” says former Create a Jewish Legacy director Sue Kline. “Prior to CJL, the challenge had been to instill this type of giving into an organization’s structure. It’s a thrill to see these organizations proactively having conversations with their donors, and to contemplate the number of people in our region who have made a legacy commitment. With their Letters of Intent, donors make a statement about what is important to them during their lifetime and they will be remembered in perpetuity for their commitment to the organizations they value.”

“From our synagogue’s point of view,” observed David Sharken, Create a Jewish Legacy team leader for the Jewish Community of Amherst, “the legacy initiative enables us to strengthen ties with our most loyal donors and has sparked our congregational imagination to think of the future.”

Other program participants include Beit Ahavah: the Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton, Congregation B’nai Israel, Hillel House at the University of Massachusetts, Lander~Grinspoon Academy, Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, Congregation Sons of Zion, Congregation B’nai Torah, Greater Springfield Chapter of Hadassah, Heritage Academy, Jewish Family Service, Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, Jewish Geriatric Services, LYA (Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy), Rachel’s Table (a program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts), Sinai Temple, Springfield Jewish Community Center, and Temple Beth El.

For more information about endowment giving or how to make a legacy gift please contact Linda Minoff at

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