It has been a busy first year as chair of the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation, and I take pride in this year’s successes.
Despite a turbulent financial market, we ended 2015 with a positive return of 3.7 per cent, net of fees. This is due in large part to the diligent work of the Foundation’s Investment Committee, our investment adviser, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, and our fund managers.
As of this month, the Foundation’s total capital is over $54 million. We wouldn’t have these impressive results without our family of donors and we are deeply grateful to all of you for your continued generosity and philanthropy.
Several examples of our community’s philanthropy are the grants awarded each year at our AGM.
The GJ Cooper Scholarship Award is the legacy of George Cooper, who set up a personal insurance policy and bequeathed approximately $300,000 from his estate to the Foundation. From this, a memorial fund was created and, through it, the scholarship. The award is now granted each year to support a student who has displayed leadership qualities, academic excellence and an interest in the Jewish community. Shelby Levine, this year’s recipient, exemplifies those qualities. On top of academic excellence, she is a community role model and leader, and I know she will continue to make us proud.
In addition, the Women’s Collective Philanthropy Program presented a $2,000 award. Their grant aims to fund grassroots programs that improve the lives of women and children in Ottawa’s Jewish community and beyond. This year’s recipient, Ausome Ottawa, is an organization that helps families living with autism by providing an opportunity for children with autism to participate in an inclusive sports program that meets their needs. We wish them much success in this admirable and worthwhile endeavour.
I am excited to also report that we have two new endowment fund scholarships, which will begin awarding in 2016-2017.
Created by Steven Rubin to honour his late wife, Ilana, the Ilana and Steven Rubin Educational Endowment Fund, initially valued at $1,800, will be awarded to a student to help him or her attend a Canadian or Israeli post-secondary institution. Applicants may contact Arieh Rosenblum at email@example.com or 613-798-4696, ext. 270. The deadline for applications is December 1.
The Norman Lesh Endowment Fund was created by the family of the late Norman Lesh to honour the memory of this innovative and dedicated community volunteer, leader, businessman and philanthropist. The Norman Lesh Philanthropy Award will support an original and innovative philanthropic or communal endeavour. The award in its first year will be $3,500. Details will be published in the fall, and the application deadline will be in spring 2017.
The Foundation is a thriving organization that is always trying to raise the bar even higher. One of the best ways you can help us do this is to take our Legacy Challenge. A legacy gift most often takes the form of a bequest in your will that designates a portion of your estate to create an endowment fund to support causes in the community that are closest to your heart. If you make a bequest of $10,000 or more, we’ll cover your legal costs of up to $1,000.
Donations, like legacy gifts, allow us to support myriad important causes. Last year alone, we disbursed more than $2 million to Ottawa’s Jewish agencies.
We should all be proud of these results and of what we achieve together.
Again, I thank all of you for your generosity and I pledge to work my hardest in the year ahead to engage, educate and inspire our community of donors so together we can strengthen the security and financial viability of Ottawa’s Jewish community.