Today is December 15, 2019 -
Most people rely on having children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to continue their legacies. But what guarantee do we have that their priorities will be the same as ours? Things important to us may not be important to them. How then can we insure that the ideas most valuable to us are preserved for future generations?
One of the largest donors to Federation’s annual campaign passed away in 2008, leaving a substantial gift to the community. That gift is permanently restricted, but the income produced every year supports all of Federation’s programs. Her memory has certainly been a blessing.
Our community had a donor who cared deeply about children with special needs. The endowment that he left behind helps provide one-on-one support for several children in our Hebrew schools, and it will forever.
One donor, who is still living, created a fund to offer need-based scholarships to outstanding Jewish students headed to college. Federation houses many scholarships created to benefit local schools, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations.
Endowments are heavily regulated by New York State law, and great care should be taken when crafting and implementing them. First, and foremost, the endowment language must properly capture the intent of the donor. Restrictions should be specific enough to accomplish the goals while broad enough to adapt to changes. We don’t know what the future holds and, as Christopher Robin explained to Winnie-the-Pooh, “forever and ever is a very long time.”
How can Federation help? This is another service we offer to all of our community partners. We have a JD and two CPAs on staff with access to lay people who are very familiar with the ever-changing laws, as well as expert contacts on the national level. We are current on best practices, and we keenly understand fiduciary responsibility. Our level of professional skill and lay oversight is hard to replicate, especially within our smaller institutions. Please use us as a resource.
In line with our mission “to build and maintain a strong and united Jewish community,” we are here to help.
G’mar chatima tova—May you be sealed for a good year.