New JCF chair advocate of impact investing

Anne Hameroff

Retired attorney Anne Hameroff, the new chair of the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, wants to see the Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona work together in ways that make them “more nimble and responsive” to meet the overall philanthropic desires of their donors.

It’s a goal she will be working toward with Deborah Oseran, JFSA board chair, and Graham Hoffman, president and CEO of both organizations, along with other community leaders.

Born and raised in Tucson, Hameroff celebrated her consecration, becoming a bat mitzvah, confirmation, and marriage at Temple Emanu-El. She grew up spending time at the Tucson Jewish Community Center and got involved in Jewish communal leadership when her children, now in their early 30s, were small, eventually serving as board chair of the Tucson J from 2005-2006. She has served on the JCF board for seven years.

Although Federation and Foundation have always worked together, she explains, they have been very separate in their core missions, with Federation raising annual campaign funds and allocating that money in the community, and Foundation focused on individuals’ endowment gifts and donor advised funds, stewarding their more general philanthropic goals. Often, community members are involved with both organizations. As JFSA and JCF work together ever more closely, while adhering to confidentiality rules, “we can better understand a person’s overall vision as to how they want to help their community, whatever that community is,” she says. JCF fund holders support many causes in the greater community as well as the Jewish community, locally and globally.

Oseran notes that JFSA and JCF are engaged in an aligned examination of their grant processes and planning and allocations work. With so many Jewish agencies facing operational challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, “it’s imperative to design new ways to deliver services and accomplish our mission,” she says.

“With the Foundation and Federation now having a single CEO, and the organizations working closer and closer together, I can’t think of anyone better suited than my good friend Anne Hameroff to chair the Foundation board,” says Jeff Katz, JCF immediate past chair. “Anne is not only smart and creative, she leads by example and has a keen sense of how to get things done.  The world of philanthropy is changing fast and I can’t think of two better people than Anne Hameroff and Deborah Oseran to be leading our community at this critical time.”

Essential to the work of the two organizations in the coming year, Hameroff says, will be synthesizing the data from the Jewish community visioning survey that took place online in February and March, created by Rosov Consulting LLC in conjunction with a local steering committee, which she chaired.

The pandemic scuttled plans to hold a series of community shareback meetings to present and get feedback on the survey data, says Hoffman, who adds that plans are underway to present the information and get feedback online, likely through Zoom meetings.

While community feedback will be essential to developing priorities, Hoffman says, some preliminary findings have bubbled to the surface. Highlights include a strong interest among many constituents in expanding their Jewish social networks, he says, which presents an opportunity to facilitate the work of “network weavers” who would identify people with similar interests and demographics, creating broadened peer groups that can engage in Jewish experiences and social experiences together.

There also is a great deal of interest in Jewishly organized social justice and community service activism, Hoffman says.

Current and prospective parents and grandparents showed significant interest in raising children Jewishly, both culturally and religiously, although more so culturally, he says. There also is considerable interest in learning about and traveling to Israel, Jewish holiday celebrations, and spiritual experiences outside of synagogues.

Hameroff is “a brilliant businesswoman and outside-the-box problem solver,” Hoffman says, who brings to the table “valuable and unique perspectives, both in terms of her experience as a philanthropist and in the context of some of the passion she has put behind mobilizing and motivating the Foundation to explore and move forward in the impact investing arena.”

Impact investing, he explains, is an evolving field that looks at how organizations such as Federation and Foundation can shape their investments in ways that are not only aligned with advancing Jewish and social values, but also will have competitive returns.

“Anne has been very involved in an organization called JLens,” an impact investing partner for the Jewish community, Hoffman says.

The Foundation also is looking at other impact investing offerings through its investment advisor, SEI. These could enable the Foundation, for example, to have an investment option targeted toward needs in Pima County for affordable housing — such as mortgages for those who otherwise could not afford them — parks, and the environment. Through such investments, the Foundation can “both meet a similar investment return to our other fixed income investing strategies, and also afford our stakeholders and ourselves the ability to see these community assets be preserved and grow, while adding additional value in the community,” Hoffman says. “In impact investing, they call that a double bottom line.”