Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation Achieves $11 Million Milestone
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 email@example.com.
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*
Laurie and Ross Garber* & **
Fran and Dan Hamermesh
Christine & Lance Kutnick
Laraine & Leon Lasdon
Shira and Robert Ledman
Judy Waxman z”l*
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
Austin Jewish Academy Endowment Fund
CONGREGATION AGUDAS ACHIM
Congregation Agudas Achim General Endowment Fund
CONGREGATION BETH ISRAEL
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
Sigma Delta Tau, Tau Chapter Fund
HEBREW FREE LOAN OF AUSTIN
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
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
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
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
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
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