Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation Achieves $11 Million Milestone | Shalom Austin

Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation Achieves $11 Million Milestone

Community News, Shalom Austin, The Jewish Outlook

Mar 4, 2021

By Lisa Apfelberg and Sandy Dochen

2020 was a COVID-induced tough and challenging year globally and locally.  However, an exciting philanthropic tool open to the community and hosted by Shalom Austin celebrated new milestones in 2020 that provided a boost for multiple community organizations in need. The Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation, created in 2014, closed 2020 with more than $11 million in assets, up $2 million from the previous year.

The Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation partners with donors and community organizations to fulfill their philanthropic goals and to secure our Jewish community forever.  Last year, 22 new funds were created, including 18 donor advised funds (DAFs) two Annual Campaign endowment funds, the Austin Jewish Community Mikveh Fund and the Hebrew Free Loan of Austin Endowment Fund. 

Additionally, Austin Jewish Academy and Congregation Agudas Achim moved previously created endowment funds to the Jewish Foundation. Precedent for these institutional funds came from Congregation Beth Israel, which entrusted several of its long-term or endowment funds to the foundation several years ago.  

A DAF helps a family create a fund generated by cash, stock or other assets that becomes a tax-deductible gift in the year it is created. The holder of the DAF can use those funds to support a favorite nonprofit organization anywhere in the country, at any time. In 2020, fundholders granted out nearly $1.5 million to charities of their choice, including $475,000 to Shalom Austin, creating immediate impact during a particularly challenging time. 

The funds are administered through a partnership with the Austin Community Foundation, whose investment advisors maximize solid and safe investment returns. Individuals and families can also create endowments, a pledge of assets to support an organization or cause that they can fund in perpetuity.  

Fran Hamermesh, a retired Austin lawyer and longtime Jewish community volunteer, helped to create the Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation.  

“The time was past due for Austin, a vibrant and growing Jewish community, to build an endowment and to ensure the future of the community, inspire philanthropy and support existing institutions,” Hamermesh said. 

“The foundation promotes new directions in philanthropy and educates the community about such opportunities,” she added.  

The foundation’s 2020 growth is attributed to several exciting developments.  

“Many families use their funds to make their annual Shalom Austin campaign commitments and donate to other favorite non-profit organizations in and outside of the Jewish community,” said Foundation Committee Co-Chair Diane Radin. “Creating a fund is easy, convenient and an act of community building–for our Jewish institutions and for supporting our entire Central Texas region one donation at a time.” 

COVID-19 also impacted strategic donation decisions, including those made by Kim and Matt Schocket. Kim was moved by her service on the Shalom Austin Board of Directors and Jewish Family Service Committee. 

“I saw firsthand the impact COVID was having. Our Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation DAF allowed us to donate swiftly to the COVID Community Response Fund set up by Shalom Austin during the height of the pandemic,” she noted. 

The Austin Community Foundation website is “user friendly and makes sending a contribution easy and rewarding,” she added.

Co-Chair Joel Levine explained that a strategic feature is that new and existing fund holders can create or add to a fund anytime, taking the charitable contribution in that year, and then make funding decisions for years into the future.  

“It’s a flexible way to accumulate and donate,” he said. 

In addition, an organization or institution can place their funds in varying combinations of stock funds and fixed term investments. A rising stock market, as experienced in 2020, resulted in investment growth in many funds even as donations were being made. 

Austin joins many other cities with Jewish foundations, showing a maturity as a community with individuals and families who understand philanthropy, thereby growing the community even more. 

Hammermesh reflected, “The Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation has inspired the community and has been a wake-up call for Austin.” 

Want to get involved and learn more? A series of informational parlor meetings will enable any individual or family to learn about this great act of community. And, of course, leaders hope that more families and organizations will consider creating new funds and endowments, which will continue to strengthen community philanthropic capabilities. 

Parlor meeting dates are March 24 at 10-11 a.m., April 27 at 7:30-8:30 p.m., and May 13 at 12-1 p.m. To learn more or to RSVP, contact Amy Hyman, Shalom Austin senior development director, at

Shalom Austin Legacy Society Donors  

These donors have made gifts of permanence to benefit Shalom Austin and other organizations in Central Texas and beyond. 

Lisa Chronister and Elliot Johnson** 

Carol and Sandy Dochen* & ** 

Jennifer Failla Hoffman* 

Sandra Freed* 

Laurie and Ross Garber* & ** 

Fran and Dan Hamermesh 

Karen Kahan* 

Christine & Lance Kutnick 

Laraine & Leon Lasdon 

Shira and Robert Ledman 

Adam Loewy** 

Phil Loewy*  

Beth McDaniel* 

Val Newberg* 

Nancy Shapiro* 

Kim Schocket* 

Toby Shor* 

Lecia Sud* 

Abby Rapoport* 

Marianne Rochelle* 

Judy Waxman z”l* 

Joe Woskow** 

Susan Zane Epstein* 

 *Forever Lion ($125K minimum Annual Campaign endowment) 

**$125K Annual Campaign or designated Shalom Austin endowment  

Shalom Austin Endowment Funds   

Jay Rubin Israel Experience Fund 

JCAA Sandy Gottesman Fund 

Jewish Community Innovation Fund  

Generations Facility Fund 

Hymie & Louise Samuelson ECP Fund 

Hymie & Louise Samuelson Young Leadership Award Fund 

Shalom Austin Endowment Fund 

Shalom Austin Garber Family Endowment Fund for Children’s Performing & Fine Arts Programs and Austin Jewish Academy 

The Austin Community Mikveh Fund 

Community Partner Funds  


Austin Jewish Academy Endowment Fund 


Congregation Agudas Achim General Endowment Fund 


CBI Operating Endowment Fund 

CBI Permanent Endowment Fund 

Rose Dornbusch Youth Experience Scholarship Fund  

Michael “Mickey” Deutsch Beautification Fund 

Faye Gellman Youth Education Fund 

Earl Podolnick Eternal Light Fund 

Alan Lawrence Schechter Continuing Education Endowment Fund 


Sigma Delta Tau, Tau Chapter Fund 


Hebrew Free Loan of Austin Endowment Fund

Donor Advised Fundholders

Anne Alexander & David Kessler Family Fund 

Arthur and Barbara Altman Philanthropic Fund 

Lisa Apfelberg and Eric Greisdorf Family Fund  

Baker/Rapoport Fund 

Brittman Family Fund  

Leslie S. Brittman Literary Fund 

Jill Bowser and Sylvia Chao Fund 

Alan and Holly Cohen Family Fund  

Beth & Erik Cohen Family Fund 

CMC Foundation Fund (Liz & Michael Solka) 

Dochen Family Fund  

Susan Zane Epstein Family Fund  

Finkelman Family Fund 

David and Pamela Frager Family Fund   

Sandra and Buddy Freed Family Fund  

Freedman Family Fund  

Edward & Cindy Fudman Family Fund  

Failla Hoffman Family Fund  

Friedel Family Fund 

Goldblatt Fund  

Candy & David Goldstein Family Fund 

Goodman Family Fund 

Joel Granoff Family Fund 

Valerie Granoff Family Fund 

Don Grefe & Janice Pierce Charitable Fund  

Gremont Family Foundation Fund 

Happy Life Fund (Marci Dell) 

Lauren and Seth Halpern Fund  

Harrison Family Fund 

Amy Hyman & Gerry Reyelts Family Fund  

Andrea and Walter Kalmans Family Fund 

Dealey/Kentor Family Fund 

Lynn and Lenny Krasnow Family Fund 

Rochelle & Dan Kraus Family Fund  

Fabianna and Ron Laby Fund  

Ladd Family Charitable Fund  

Lain Family Fund 

Leon & Laraine Lasdon Family Fund  

Jessica & Joel Levine Family Fund 

Sigrid Levi-Baum and Michael Baum Family Fund  

Cynthia and Sanford Levinson Fund  

Jessica and David Levy Philanthropic Fund  

Lori and Joshua Levy Family Fund 

Melanie Carol Lewis Fund  

Phil and Adam Loewy Fund  

LSKT Fund  

Marcus-Hill Family Fund 

Arlene & Lawrence Maze Family Fund  

Jill & Paul May Family Fund  

Frances and Adam Meltzer Family Fund 

Steven and Lauren Meyers Family Fund   

Meyou Fund (Carole & Kerry Price)  

F.A. & Maury Midlo Fund 

Miller Family Fund  

MMR Fund 

Wade & Sally Monroe Family Fund  

MOSHANA Family Fund 

Lindsay and Jordan Neuren Family Fund 

Marcia Nieder and Ira Leichtman Family Fund 

Jeff and Val Newberg Family Fund 

Keri Pearlson Charitable Fund 

Charles & Diane Radin Fund  

Rachel & Alexander Robinson Family Fund 

Marianne and Martin Rochelle Fund  

Elyse and Rick Rosenberg Family Fund 

Salmanson Family Fund 

Schocket Family Fund 

Marcia and Barry Silverberg Fund  

Smullen Family Fund  

Solka Family Fund 

Joe & Fai Lee Steinberg 

Susswein Family Fund 

Torah U-Mada Fund 

Mark and Sharyn Vane Family Fund 

Liz and Todd Waldman Family Fund 

Stuart and Elisabeth Wallock Fund 

Webberman Family Fund 

Winer Charitable Fund 

Keith and Linda Zimmerman Philanthropic Fund 

Zimmerman/Scott Family Fund 

Anonymous (1) 


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