SAJF Fundholder Spotlight: Eileen Ladd | Shalom Austin

SAJF Fundholder Spotlight: Eileen Ladd

Jewish Foundation, The Jewish Outlook

Dec 29, 2022

The Ladd Family. Courtesy of Eileen Ladd.

Dallas native, Eileen Ladd and her husband Brent have been in Austin since 1989.  They became involved with what is now Shalom Austin when their children were students in the ECP preschool previously located on Jollyville Road. Eileen’s early involvement included helping with various community activities and volunteering for the original JCC book fair.  In fact, for the past 30 years, Eileen has participated in a book club started from a sign-up sheet at the 1992 book fair.

Around the same time as the Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation was forming, the Ladd’s financial advisor suggested they open a donor advised fund (DAF) to streamline their philanthropic giving. A DAF is a popular way to manage charitable contributions with significant tax advantages. Eileen already had an endowed fund established through the Dallas Jewish Foundation in memory of her brother and assumed they would open a DAF there but was happy to learn they would be able to do so right here in Austin.

“One of the best things about being a Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation fundholder is that it makes managing our philanthropy so easy,” Eileen said. “I believe that everything we have is on loan from the universe and we have an obligation to share with those less fortunate – the most repeated mitzvah is to help the stranger, the widow and the orphan. I have experience with two of those categories and it makes me more sensitive to those in need.”

Eileen’s charitable giving began as a young girl. She recalls having a little book with envelopes in it to use to apportion her allowance. This started her putting tzedakah away at an early age.  “My father was the treasurer for Hebrew Free Loan in Dallas throughout my childhood, so that had a big impact too,” she said.

In addition to making impactful donations, Eileen has been very generous with the giving of her time as well. For one, she spent many years helping Congregation Kol Halev grow when her children were young. She has made most of the friends she has today through her involvement with the National Council of Jewish Women, including chairing the first Race for the Cure here in Austin. Today, Eileen is continuing to give back to the community through her volunteer roles as a Shalom Austin Women’s Philanthropy and Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation committee member.

In addition to their support of numerous Jewish causes and organizations such as JNF, BBYO and Moishe House, the Ladds are also involved with the Red Cross.

As evidenced by her community impact, Eileen is truly living the mission she set for herself when she retired from practicing law; “I don’t have an income, I have an outcome.”


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