With a new website and a first group of institutional partners, the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County has officially launched a campaign to encourage supporters to create a lasting legacy for future generations.
The Create a Jewish Legacy Middlesex campaign, patterned after successful efforts at other Jewish federations, encourages charitable bequests, trusts, gift annuities, and other “planned giving” methods.
On Dec. 4, several partnering agencies came to the federation’s South River office for training as part of a community-wide effort to secure bequests and endowments.
“We helped our partners understand the process,” said Create a Jewish Legacy director Rachel Ingber, giving the representatives marketing tools and tips on “how to start an endowment conversation with their closest donors.”
“We want to help people understand how important this conversation is and how meaningful it can be for donors to be able to ensure a vibrant and strong Jewish community. Their legacies live on through these endowments and bequests.”
Ingber, who also serves as federation’s financial resource development director, said subsequent training sessions are being planned. Since planning for the campaign was begun about a year ago, the federation has been meeting with partner agencies to generate interest in the initiative.
Attending the Dec. 4 meeting were representatives of Congregation B’nai Tikvah in North Brunswick, the Jewish Historical Society of Central Jersey, and Jewish Family and Vocational Service of Middlesex County. Other participants are Congregation Ahavas Achim in Highland Park and the JCC of Middlesex County in Edison. More synagogues and institutions are expected to join.
All funds from the legacy campaign will be held in separate accounts by the federation’s Jewish Community Foundation, overseen by an endowment investment committee and full-time independent professional money managers. The funds can be used only for institutions for which they are earmarked.
The director of each participating organization will be notified when a gift is received directly by the foundation and will receive semi-annual reports on its fund.
“We were thinking about doing some sort of legacy program for our shul for a long time, but we were never able to quite get it together, and suddenly this became a conduit,” said B’nai Tikvah member Aaron Rosloff, who attended the meeting with congregation president Gary Bergman.
“They do all the detail work, and all we have to do is find prospective donors,” Rosloff said. “I got the feeling they had the experience and had done all the background work. I feel it’s really the right thing to do and covers a very important need. I left there confident it will work.”
In conjunction with the Dec. 4 meeting, a new website, createajewishlegacymiddlesex.org, was also launched to provide additional information about the campaign and each of the participating institutions.