Life & Legacy initiative achieves $100K incentive

Hundreds of people in the Jewish community have stepped up, signing letters of intent to support the organizations they care most about as part of the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation’s Life & Legacy initiative. This means Ottawa has met the program's annual goal and will receive a $100K incentive.

Life & Legacy, a program developed by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and run locally by the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation, aims to help communities secure legacy gifts in support of building and securing our local Jewish organizations. Ottawa’s program has now succeeded in meeting its goals for promised contributions for the second year of participation, meaning that the Grinspoon Foundation will contribute $100,000 USD to support the program in Ottawa, in addition to the hundreds of thousands by the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation. 

“We were able to sign 51 letters of intent over the two years,” said Margo Rosen, who volunteers as the Life & Legacy team leader for Temple Israel. 

“We’ve done stewardship, high holidays handouts, and gotten testimonials from people,” said Rosen. “We made a Tu B’Shivat gift bag for everyone with seeds and soil. We had more than 250 conversations in Year 2 and we did more than 100 marketing events.”

The Foundation’s Director of Development Micah Garten was grateful that the 12 partner organizations, which despite dealing with constantly changing present-day challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic — had the foresight to work on a program that would secure their future. (For a full list of participating organizations, visit here.)

“The pandemic made strategic planning very difficult, with most of us just focused on dealing with the constant changes to daily life, however a central tenet of Judaism is the transfer of values from generation to generation. In my opinion the Life & Legacy program is the absolute best way for us to preserve the values and organizations that we care about,” explained Garten.

Rosen agreed with that theme of preserving values and continuity.

“The motivation is our long-term commitment to Temple,” said Rosen. “A few of us are actually founding members of Temple. It just made sense to me, to support the continuity of Ottawa’s reform community.”

Sharon Appotive, the Life & Legacy team leader for  the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, encouraged her team of volunteers to engage with the community as often as possible. 

“It's a great program,” said Appotive. “Why shouldn’t our community take advantage of all the benefits of this program? It’s a given, when it’s going to benefit our community. If I can do anything to help, I’m happy to do so.”

Appotive, who leads a team of eight volunteers, said Life & Legacy is a win-win. 

“Our community benefits today — and tomorrow.”

Dr. Lisa Rosenkrantz is among the Temple members who have signed a Letter of Intent. She said she did so because a number of years ago, “there was a conference asking the question ‘will our grandchildren be Jewish?’ With that in mind, knowing that we have no control over our children’s choices, we wanted something tangible to leave for our grandchildren, that would support their Jewish journey, should they choose to embark on it.”

“This is a program that is simply asking for a commitment, no money at the moment,” she explained. “There is money involved of course. This program has been leveraged by a well-established philanthropic organization that is putting action into the words. They are giving money to organizations that are able to reach out and secure commitments as [each] meets certain thresholds. And they are giving money now. So generous, and so I feel that we can be generous with our commitments.”

Temple Israel has a series of stories from those who have signed Letters of Intent on their website.

Legacy donors are individuals who care about the Jewish community and want to guarantee that Jewish Ottawa thrives so we can promise our children, grandchildren and generations to come that they too will enjoy meaningful Jewish lives.

You can demonstrate your love, devotion and connection to our community and our future by making a Legacy gift today.

For more information, please contact Micah Garten at or call 613-798-4696, ext. 270