By Micah Garten
The war in Israel and the current rise in antisemitism reminds us how uncertain the world can be. In Jewish Ottawa, we are fortunate that during challenging times, donors step up to address special unforeseen need. However, there is also the ongoing “regular” needs for community funding and that's why it is so important that the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation exists and protect our community by ensuring there are consistent, sustaining funds.
This year has been a successful year for the Foundation. It is in Year 3 of the Life & Legacy program, which now has over 330 donors in the community who have left legacy gifts totaling more than $20 million.
Nearly 60% of those donors have already formalized their gifts, meaning that they have updated their wills with a charitable bequest or made other legal arrangements to ensure the Foundation receives the funds when the time comes. For those still needing to formalize their gifts, there is the Legacy Challenge that will cover up to $1000 toward legal fees to write or update your will.
The Foundation’s investments remain positive with five and 10-year averages staying strong.
Most recently, the Foundation has made impact in its support for Israel:
- The success of the Life and Legacy program has meant that the Foundation received a $100,000 US incentive grant from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Of that, $60,000 was paid out to the local Life & Legacy partner agencies. It also covered the Legacy Celebration dinner and was used to make a $25,000 contribution to the Federation’s Emergency Appeal for the People of Israel.
- The Foundation Board authorized a $500,000 increase in the amount invested in Israel Bonds. This brings the total up to $1.8M in Bond holdings.
- The Foundation has always acted as the stock brokerage for the community. This year, a record number of people have donated appreciated securities to the Ottawa community and to Israel. Appreciated securities include publicly listed stocks, bonds, mutual fund units or exchange traded funds on approved stock exchanges in Canada and internationally.
The Canadian tax laws around donations of appreciated securities is changing in 2024. If you are considering making this type of gift, now is the very best time. Please contact the Foundation soon or click here to start the process. To learn more, please read this article from the Financial Times.
The Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation is looking forward to continuing to support the community locally and abroad and serving as the investments hub for the Jewish Federation of Ottawa.
It is not too late to make year-end contributions to the Annual Campaign, the Israel appeal, or any of the funds managed by the Foundation. To top up a fund, click here.
--Micah Garten is the Interim CEO, Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation