Take the Foundation Legacy Challenge

Take the Foundation Legacy Challenge to help ensure the future of Ottawa's Jewish community

Did you know that specifying a gift to an Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation fund in your will reaps great results in ensuring the long-term sustainability of our community?

And did you know that if you leave a gift to the Foundation in your will of $10,000 or more, or one per cent or more of your estate, the Foundation Legacy Challenge will reimburse your legal fees (up to $1,000) to create this bequest or codicil.

The Foundation Legacy Challenge was announced in 2011 by then-incoming Foundation chair Richard Roth who, with his wife Riva, provided the seed money to be used to pay the legal fees of community members wishing to create their Jewish legacy.

“Riva and I started the Legacy Challenge with the hope of facilitating the conversation around legacy giving through estate gifts. These are gifts a person makes through their will. With proper tax structuring, a legacy gift can help families save money in estate taxes while at the same time, benefiting community,” said Roth in a spotlight posted on the Foundation website.

“Almost 30 people have taken advantage of this opportunity, pledging an estimated $4.3 million dollars,” says Foundation Director of Development Micah Garten, “of which $1.3 million has already been received.

Once these gifts are realized, Garten notes, they will generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for the chosen beneficiaries.

Garten explained that gifts to Foundation funds are invested and the specified beneficiary agency will receive a dividend of four per cent annually. That $1.3 million already received resulted in disbursements last year of $52,000 to beneficiaries including Camp B’nai Brith of Ottawa, Hillel Lodge and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa Annual Campaign.

“I think the important thing about this is that anybody can do it. Anybody can leave a percentage of their estate,” says Garten. “It’s about adding a bequest to your will.”

In a 2014 column in the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, Lynne Oreck-Wener, then chair of the Foundation, noted, “Each of us has the power to make a difference and ensure that we leave a personal legacy. Individuals of all means can make a tremendous impact [and] by making a legacy gift, the causes we support in our lifetime can continue to reap the benefits of our philanthropy in perpetuity (May 12, 2014).”

“I look at the act of establishing a legacy in your will through the Foundation not only as a good deed, a mitzvah, enabling you to support the causes most important to you in perpetuity, but also as a smart financial tool and a great example of philanthropy for your children,” wrote Oreck-Wener in a follow-up column in the Bulletin the following year. “Legacy giving through the Foundation is a win-win for you, your heirs, your estate and your community. (April 13, 2015).” Bernie Shaffer is one of the community members who has already answered the Legacy Challenge.

He says the offer of reimbursement for his legal fees “was timely because I was thinking about revising my will for a number of reasons, including making a legacy donation to the Sam and Mary Shaffer Memorial Fund.”

Shaffer says he decided to participate in the Legacy Challenge “because upon my death I wanted to make a larger than usual donation to the fund that I set up to honour my parents” so that it continues “to give annual donations to the fund’s designated beneficiaries.”

“I think it’s a great idea,” Shaffer adds. “Donors like myself can insert a clause in their wills, as I have done, to ensure that the annual donations continue, and to give their executors the power to make appropriate changes to donations and/or beneficiaries if circumstances change.”

For more information on the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation Legacy Challenge, contact Director of Development Micah Garten at mgarten@jewishottawa.com or 613-798-4696, ext. 270, who will be happy to explain the Legacy Challenge process to you.