For the past 11 years, ever since they heard about Tikva and its work with desperately needy Jewish children in Odessa, Ukraine, Leah and Ed Frankel have done whatever they can to help the organization.
Tikva, a beneficiary agency of the UJA Campaign, is a network of homes and schools started by Rabbi Shlomo Baksht in 1993. It takes in children who have been abused or abandoned or whose families can’t care for them. It provides them with a safe, nurturing home and a good quality education at a Jewish school. It also helps those eager to live in Israel to make aliya when they are ready, which around 300 have done. Now, the Frankels, who lived in Caldwell before moving to Florida, have taken action to ensure that Tikva’s work goes on after they have passed away.
Inspired by the soon-to-be-announced MetroWest Tomorrow campaign, they have pledged a planned gift of $10 million to establish a permanent endowment with the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest NJ, the endowment and planned giving arm of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ.
Half of that charitable bequest will be dedicated to supporting Tikva, with 5 percent given each year as a grant to the organization.
The other half will be set aside in a discretionary fund overseen, after Ed and Leah pass away, by members of their family and the Jewish community. Grants from that fund may also be used for Tikva, or could go to support other Jewish organizations of interest to the members of an advisory panel.
The Frankels have been major donors with United Jewish Appeal for many years and have supported other local and overseas programs.
When asked why this particular gift caught their imagination so powerfully, Ed, a manufacturer of nutritional products, said simply, “Things come your way for a reason. This presented itself.”
He said they decided to make the gift through JCF because they found UJC MetroWest NJ executive vice president Max Kleinman so supportive.
“He was unbelievably helpful,” Ed said.
Kleinman recently returned from a trip to Odessa, which included a visit to the Tikva facilities and the local school run by ORT, the Jewish vocational training organization.
Kleinman welcomed the Frankels’ endowment gift and described it as an example of how, through MetroWest Tomorrow and the JCF, major donors “can actualize their passions for programs and services dear to their hearts, and perpetuate their support, ensuring they continue for the long haul.”
MetroWest Tomorrow, being launched this year, represents a significant push by UJC and JCF into planned giving to create “an enduring campaign” for Jewish experiences and education, expanding programs for the vulnerable and strengthening bonds among Jews around the world.
Andy Stamelman, immediate past president of the JCF and an officer of Tikva, pointed out that establishing a bequest through a community foundation like JCF can have tax and management advantages over setting up a private family foundation.
“The Frankels are terrific Jewish philanthropists,” he said. “They chose to establish this endowment fund through JCF because it supports their objectives.”
There are 300 children in the Tikva home now and 1,000 in its schools. A vocational program helps graduates get viable jobs, and a jobs program for the children’s parents aids the older generation. Four years ago, the organization established a Jewish university, which is growing rapidly.
The Frankels’ involvement with Tikva keeps growing. Six months ago Ed, who is chair of the Tikva Board of Trustees, was instrumental in helping a girl from the home get flown to Israel for an organ transplant.
They would like to see others come on board to help Tikva too. Ed said, “People say, ‘But Jews don’t abuse their children.’ But Jews do everything that other people do,” and the children in Odessa desperately need help.
He mentioned that a number of events are scheduled to raise funds for Tikva. The next one is a golf tournament on Monday, June 20 (Call Carol Kraut at 973-575-9200). For more information on Tikva, call 917-262-1159. To learn more about JCF and the MetroWest Tomorrow campaign, call Joshua Rednik at 973-929-3060 or go to www.jcfmetrowest.org.