Foundation to honor Karsch at Book of Life signing event

Carol Karsch

The Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona will honor Executive Director Carol Karsch at its 20th anniversary celebration of the Endowment Book of Life signing event, which will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

Karsch is retiring after 23 years at the Foundation, where her leadership resulted in the establishment of legacies that provide permanent annual funding for organizations throughout the community. She is nationally and internationally recognized for being instrumental in the creation, more than 20 years ago, of the Endowment Book of Life, which began in Tucson and is now being used by communities throughout North America.

“The Endowment Book of Life is a true manifestation of Carol’s vision, passion, love, and dedication to the future of Jewish philanthropy in Tucson, Israel, and throughout the world,” says JCF President Keri Silvyn. “Those who sign the Endowment Book of Life are taking the first step in a commitment to individual legacy planning, and under Carol’s guidance, signers experience the incredible satisfaction that comes with recognizing themselves as philanthropists. The numbers of communities that have since started an Endowment Book of Life and look to Carol and our Jewish Community Foundation as a resource are a testament to Carol’s lifelong work in this area.”

Ambassador Uri Bar-Ner, senior adviser to the president of the America-Israel Friendship League and former Israeli Ambassador to Turkey, will present Karsch with a Recognition Award on behalf of the State of Israel. The award will honor her leadership to assure the future of the Jewish community in Tucson, Israel and around the world.

The Endowment Book of Life provides signers an opportunity to promise to establish a future legacy for the community. During the past 20 years, more than 550 members of the Tucson Jewish community have signed the Endowment Book of Life and, of that number, 188 have completed their legacy plans, 79 are finalizing their legacies, and approximately 300 others have held conversations with the Foundation to begin the process. More than 40 commun­ities throughout North America have adopted this innovative approach to community philanthropy.

This event will also honor 12 community partners who have agreed to participate in a nationally and locally funded pilot program known as Areivim, whose goal is to encourage community members to establish legacies to benefit each of the partners. The Areivim partners include Congregation Anshei Israel, Congregation Or Chadash, Congregation Young Israel, Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona, Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, Jewish History Museum, Solomon Schechter Day School of Albuquerque, Temple Emanu-El, Tucson Hebrew Academy, Tucson Jewish Community Center and University of Arizona Hillel Foundation.

The Feb. 7 Endowment Book of life signing event is free, but advance reservations must be made by calling 577-0388 or visiting jcftucson.org. Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m. and a light buffet supper will be served at 6 p.m. JCC babysitting services will be provided upon request.