Five Tucson synagogues and six Jewish organizations have been selected to build endowment funding through the new Areivim Legacy Community Project, in partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona.
“Since we created the Endowment Book of Life almost 20 years ago, the Jewish Community Foundation and the Tucson Jewish community have been building towards this initiative,” says Areivim Co-Chair Danny Gasch.
The partners include Congregations Anshei Israel, Chofetz Chayim, Or Chadash and Young Israel and Temple Emanu-El, Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, Jewish Family & Children’s Services, Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, Tucson Hebrew Academy, Tucson Jewish Community Center and University of Arizona Hillel Foundation.
They were selected from among 15 organizations and synagogues at an introductory meeting led by national Areivim representative Gail Littman on Nov. 18. Littman noted that nationally there will be an estimated $41 trillion generational transfer of wealth over the next 20 years. Of this, at least $1.7 trillion is expected to go toward charitable bequests. This highlights the importance of securing endowment commitments now, to sustain organizations in the future.
“I am convinced that when we look back several years from now, we will understand that this was one of the most important initiatives to ever come before our community,” says Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona President Stuart Mellan.
Areivim Project Coordinator Dana Adler stresses the effectiveness of collaboration, noting that more than 95 percent of legacy plans at the Foundation name more than one beneficiary, with a typical plan naming a synagogue and three to four organizations. Currently, one-third of the Foundation’s assets are endowments, with 47 percent of distributions from these funds going to local Jewish organizations and synagogues.
On Jan. 12, the partners will meet again with Littman for an initial workshop and will sign a brit kodesh (sacred covenant) signaling their commitment to abide by the principles of the Areivim project. Over the next two years, each partner will receive an $18,000 incentive grant. Funding is provided by a grant from a consortium of major North American Jewish philanthropists, with matching funds from the Jewish Community Foundation.
“We encourage all partners to start discussing legacy planning with their members and supporters,” says Adler. “After all, there’s no time like the present to begin talking about leaving a legacy.”
Nancy Ben-Asher Ozeri is a freelance writer in Tucson.