Debbie Kuniansky recently spoke to the Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy Board on why she chose to endow her annual gift to Federation and how others can accomplish the same. Debbie has been a valued Atlanta Jewish community leader for many years and is currently a Member of Federation’s Board of Trustees. Unsurprisingly, she is passionate about taking care of the Atlanta Jewish community. “I appreciate what I have here in Atlanta because I didn’t always have it,” she says.
Debbie grew up in Lakeland, Florida, where there wasn’t a significant Jewish presence. “We didn’t have BBYO or a JCC; there was no Jewish elder-care home…we had one small synagogue with a part-time Rabbi,” she says. Debbie moved to Atlanta right out of college, and immediately joined a synagogue. When her children were young, she started volunteering for their preschool at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. The more time she spent in the Atlanta Jewish community, the more she wanted to help sustain it.
One way that women can give to Federation is through The Lion of Judah Endowment (LOJE). This is a charitable gift of at least $5,400 established under the woman’s name. This endowment provides ongoing support to Federation and the many organizations we support.
Endowing her Lion was very important to Debbie, but she wasn’t sure how to make it happen. “I want to be able to help take care of my community even after I’m not here,” she says. “I want to make sure my kids and their kids have this vibrant Jewish community.”
Debbie’s husband, Doug, suggested she make the endowment through a life insurance policy. Each year, they make regular payments toward the policy (which are tax deductible). Someday, the payout on that policy will be donated directly to charities that mean the most to Debbie and Doug.
“I love that our community plans for the future,” she says. “People who came before me made plans and commitments, and my family and I benefitted from them.”
When she thinks of the people who came before her, she thinks of a great Jewish legacy of leaders and community builders who inspired her. Now, Debbie feels like she’s part of that group constantly striving to make things better—not maintaining the status quo.
To learn more about making endowments, the Lion of Judah Endowment, and more, Rachel Rosner.