I am exceptionally thankful for the opportunity to chair the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation. The Foundation has achieved so much since its inception, growing to $63 million in assets under management, a significant endowment by any standard, particularly for a community of our size, and we have achieved an enviable average rate return of 6.61 per cent over the past 10 years. Most importantly, over the past five years, the Foundation has been able to provide $14,542,945 to the various beneficiary agencies of our community.
In this edition of the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, I want to review how the Foundation strives to be donor-centric, while at the same time being mindful of our community’s needs, both for today and for the future. This approach differentiates the Foundation from other organizations and affords a unique alternative approach to community philanthropy.
Simply put, our job is to help facilitate and assist donors in their goal of fulfilling their philanthropic aspirations. We act as conduits and stewards for funds, always mindful of our responsibility to our donors.
How do we achieve this?
First, by opening a donor-advised fund, YOU choose where YOU want the money to go. You can determine that your gift will go the organization that is most meaningful to you. You can make this determination based on a personal experience that you or a family member may have had, or you may base it on your perception of where the need is greatest. For example, three of my personal passions are the Vered Israel Cultural Centre, the Ottawa Jewish Community School, and the Soloway Jewish Community Centre.
Second, once a donor has opened a fund, we are committed to providing a familial connection. For example, a donor can appoint their child as a next generation adviser for the fund, thus creating a bond between the family and community. We believe it is important for generations to have conversations together about values and giving, so we strongly encourage families to discuss philanthropy with their children.
Maimonides has described the eight levels of charitable giving or tzedakah. One of his highest levels is to “give assistance in such a way that the giver and recipient are unknown to each other,” which is such a powerful and profound principle. A legacy gift to the Foundation continues in perpetuity. While the donor does not know the recipient, they do know the benefits of the gift will continue into the future helping to ensure the vibrancy of Ottawa’s Jewish community.
Ours is a community of which we can all be proud. It is compassionate and caring. It is inclusive and inviting. It is dynamic and ever evolving. We, at the Foundation, invite you to help ensure our community’s welfare for the present and the future. I encourage you to reach out to Director of Development Micah Garten at 613-798-9818, ext. 270, to discuss donor-advised funds.
I am excited to work with you to continue building and strengthening our incredible Jewish community.