The Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation has been supporting the Jewish community of Ottawa for 50 years and now has roughly $80 million under management with almost a thousand individual funds disbursing annually to causes near and dear to its dedicated and generous donors.
In this special 50th anniversary article, we celebrate the staff, and volunteers who contribute to the Foundation’s ongoing success.
Upon calling the Foundation, the first point of contact is our Foundation Associate Solange Ashe. Ashe has been with Foundation for three years and acts as administrative and operational support for the Foundation.
“Our board members and committee members are incredibly committed to the operations of the Foundation,” said Ashe. “They are always diligent and invested in ensuring that the mandate of the Foundation is achieved.”
While “Solange” may be an unusual name, it is not so at Foundation where we are happy to have a second Solange, Solange Hosselet, nicknamed Radar, because like the MASH character she anticipates needs before they arrive.
Hosselet has been with Foundation since February 2021, and as the Tribute Card Coordinator/Development Assistant, she is the point person and main contact for those ordering Tribute Cards.
“I sincerely enjoy connecting with our constituents and donors over the phone. Many of our donors are seniors and really feeling the impact and isolation as a direct result of COVID,” said Hosselet. “I not only lend an ear, but inquire as to their situation and whether or not they need help. If it is necessary, I connect with appropriate colleagues who can assist in making the necessary linkages for support. I enjoy helping our donors through what can often be a sad and emotional time, as well as celebrating with those marking very special occasions. I am truly touched with the concept of Tribute Cards and wonderful work done by both the Federation and the Foundation.”
The Tribute Card program, which now also offers Ecards (find out more here) can work well for those wanting to top up their funds, and also for those who are first considering starting a fund and planning their philanthropic ideals Micah Garten, our Director of Development, capably guides donors through all the possible steps of their planned giving.
From B’nai Mitzvah funds to legacy gifts, Garten supports donors in how they can make the biggest impact.
Garten, who has a Master’s degree in Business Administration, has been with Foundation since 2017 and has a background in fundraising and working in the non-profit community.
As a member of the Ottawa Jewish community, (he is the son of Rabbi Steven Garten, the Rabbi emeritus of Temple Israel), Garten explains he is proud of the work the Foundation does to support Jewish Ottawa and the causes we hold dear.
“Since 2002, donors have used the Foundation to distribute roughly $40M to support charities that they care about, of which over 95% are Jewish,” he says. “And currently there are almost 1000 named funds. That’s an impressive sign of growth and impact. This is my community. It feels good to know the work we do is going to help other families like mine, for generations to come.”
Garten explains that some of this success is enabled by the partnership with the Jewish Federation of Ottawa. While the organizations share different roles, they are stronger working in partnership. Federation raises funding annually for the immediate needs of the community while investing long-term with Foundation helps to create a base-level of ongoing funding.
“The more effective the Foundation is in guaranteeing that base-level, the more Federation can fund new programs, try new things and expand. A strong Foundation allows the Federation to do more.”
Federation and Foundation CEO Andrea Freedman agrees.
“The partnership between Federation and Foundation is particularly strong around the Life & Legacy initiative. None of us live forever, and yet by making a legacy gift, your impact can and will. For donors who feel they are overwhelmed by competing philanthropic priorities, legacy giving provides another avenue to increase your impact."
Freedman adds that she is deeply proud of the Foundation team for their tremendous work throughout the pandemic, during which time the Foundation was able to provide over $5M in resources to help the community.
This professional team could not succeed in their work without the support of the many and marvellous volunteers, from the Board of Directors, including the investment and fundraising committees.
Lawrence Soloway has been the board chair since last June, having previously served as chair of the investment committee.
“The board is pretty steady,” said Soloway. “We have a good number of long-term members, serving two, three-year commitments. We also have a strong professional staff, like Andrea and Micah and the Solanges who pursue our objectives on a daily basis.”
Both Soloway and the staff’s goal is to ensure volunteering on the board is rewarding for the volunteers.
“If you step back, the Foundation has two principal objectives — fundraising and monitoring how the investments are being managed,” said Soloway.
The full board reviews what the investment and fundraising committees do, as well as overseeing smaller-scoped committees like the scholarship and governance committees.
The investment committee has 10-11 members who meet five times a year, in addition to receiving and reviewing reports on a quarterly basis. Soloway called the investment committee “critical,” adding that it operates almost as a separate entity.
While most people are familiar with the Foundation for the tribute cards, Soloway notes the foundation “does a lot of good” in so many other areas.
“The annual distributions, strong fund management from committed people … [the volunteers] are so caring and dedicated,” said Soloway.
From the staff to the volunteers, the Foundation works hard to ensure Jewish Ottawa is thriving today and into the future. And yet, none of this would exist with YOU, the donors who care so deeply about Jewish life. We thank you for your care and compassion, for considering others as you create lasting legacies that will guarantee that the next generations of Jewish children can enjoy meaningful and fulfilling Jewish lives.