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PHILANTHROPY

2021 Community Award Winners

By CARING, COMMUNITY, INNOVATION, PHILANTHROPY

Jada Garrett 
As a Black Jew, Jada Garrett seeks to amplify voices and experiences of Jews of Color. She provides leadership and organizational diversity training workshops with a Jewish lensconsulting and public speakingJada is active at Congregation Shearith Israel, with Be’chol Lashon, and participates in multiple Jews of Color focus groups. She is also a member of the Jews of Color Fed Network, a community network made up of Jewish People of Color that serve as a resource for the broader Jewish communal landscape. 

Adam Hirsch 
Adam Hirsch epitomizes the definition of leadership within the Jewish Community. He is on the executive board of American Jewish Committee, Ahavath Achim Synagogue, and is a former board member of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and Jewish Family & Career Services. He has also served on the steering board of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. He was awarded the Young Leadership Award by ORT and was recently honored by Hillels of Georgia for his contributions both personally and professionally. Adam has also told the Jewish Atlanta story through various documentaries, including most recently, “Atlanta, The City Too Busy to Wait.”  

The Gerald G. Cohen Community Development Award — Jennifer Korach
Jennifer Korach may be new to Atlanta, but she has a long history with Jewish Federations. She was an active leader in Cleveland, holding many positions in the general campaign, women’s philanthropy, and was a member of Young Leadership Cabinet. Jennifer is a premier worker (and excellent fund raiser), serves as liaison to JFNA, and has served on allocations committees. Jennifer has co-chaired events and Pop Ups.   

The Marilyn Shubin Professional Staff Development Award — David Welsher
David Welsher is currently serving in his fourth academic year at The Epstein School and was recently named the Associate Head of School effective fall 2021. He is an inspired innovator, a gifted educator, and a compelling leader, who is enthusiastic about sharing his passion, vision, and knowledge. David’s educational philosophy sees each student as a whole child capable of learning and growth. Traditional academic learning is seen alongside the social, emotional, and spiritual growth of each student.   

Mary & Max London People Power Award — Lauren Harris
Lauren Harris has served on JF&CS’s Board for over 10 years. She created The Artists’ Collective; an innovative, volunteer led and run inclusion program bringing community artists twice a month into IndependenceWorks, JF&CS’s day services program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This program gives clients who love art the ability to experiment with a variety of mediums and to interact with artists who are experts in their medium. Some of the items produced have been sold at JF&CS’s signature event, the Tasting, a fundraiser that supports these programs.  

Tikkun Olam/Community Impact Award — Mimi Hall
Mimi Hall was a founder and early organizer of Concrete Jungle, an organization launched in 2009 with the innovative idea of harvesting fruit and nuts from abandoned/underutilized urban trees. Concrete Jungle makes that produce a year-round food source for food banks, shelters, and people in need. The organization has now grown to a multi-pronged food justice advocate. Concrete Jungle organizes fruit picking events. It partners with other food justice organizations mobilizing volunteers for food delivery to needy families.   

Doing the Work to Close the Inclusion Gap or A Framework for an Inclusive Jewish Atlanta

By CARING, COMMUNITY, Jewish Abilities Alliance, People in Need, PHILANTHROPY

Community Study on Disability Inclusion 

Annie Garrett, Jewish Abilities Alliance Manager 

In early 2020, the Jewish Abilities Alliance (JAA) engaged in a community study of disability inclusion in Jewish Atlanta. The study was an opportunity to reflect on our community’s past efforts with disability inclusion and to reevaluate needs and areas for deeper focus and support. Shortly after we embarked on this work, the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold. As we started to understand the impact of the pandemic, this study took on even more importance. Individuals with disabilities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, facing increased social isolation, cuts in crucial services, and increased vulnerability to their health and wellbeing. This study has shed light on our community’s most current and pressing needs and will provide crucial data and direction to continue lifting disability inclusion as a priority across all aspects of Jewish life.  

JAA worked closely with a consulting team from Matan, spending many months interviewing Jewish communal professionals, lay-leaders, self-advocates, caregivers, and family members. As a result, we have identified a framework that promotes and enhances a vision of a Jewish Atlanta that is fully inclusive of individuals with disabilities and their families across the lifespan. This framework identifies several areas of inclusion work over the next several years to close the gap between what currently exists and what the community aims to accomplish:  

  • Establishing and supporting coordinated communal inclusion efforts and unified community goals 
  • Prioritizing funding for inclusion across the lifespan and ensuring sustainability 
  • Creating a shared communal vision of acceptance and support for individuals of all abilities 
  • Training for all community professionals and lay leaders to create an even landscape of inclusion knowledge and capability 

We look forward to sharing the outcomes of this study and our road map for the next several years as we deepen our work alongside our community partners, in making Jewish Atlanta a place where people of all abilities are welcomed, included, and embraced in all aspects of Jewish life. 

Because It’s Our Turn: Thoughts on NextGen Philanthropy

By Atlanta Jewish Foundation, COMMUNITY, NextGen, PHILANTHROPY

Jonathan Arogeti always heard his parents and grandparents say that giving back to the community was a central family value. “They told us, you have three options with money — spend it, save it, or give it away. And they believed by far that giving it away, if you are able, was the very highest value. During this time in my life, I’m doing all I can to encourage my peers to get involved in philanthropic giving. It’s our generation’s time to build on and sustain this incredible Atlanta community.”

Arogeti vividly remembers how his family’s support for Hillels of Georgia brought the commitment home. “We all attended the dedication ceremony of the new Hillel building at Emory,” Jonathan says. “It was just a few years after my grandfather’s death, and there was so much meaning to see my grandmother’s pleasure at the depth and impact of this gift. I was in college, and it felt so relevant to my stage of life.”

Now, when he can direct his philanthropic giving, Jonathan works closely with Staci Eichelbaum, Atlanta Jewish Foundation’s Director of Philanthropic Advising. He serves as a mentor to Atlanta young adults who have grown up blessed with family resources. With Eichelbaum, Arogeti has led two cohorts of a four-month NextGen Legacy group that helps NextGen donors clarify their own philanthropic interests — and equally important, teaches them to initiate discussions about where they would like to see family resources allocated and how they can participate.

Arogeti explains, “When you are coming of age in a family with the capacity to be generous, we want you to think about what your philanthropic interests look like from a structural and decision-making standpoint. In the group, we ask, ‘Does your family let you speak up and participate in philanthropic decisions? If not, how can you get more involved?’ “

He adds, “When the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund was gearing up last year, we encouraged our Legacy participants to ask their parents if they were participating.  Some had never asked about these decisions before.”

Arogeti also empowers the NextGen Legacy groups to be very specific about their personal priorities. “For example, tell your family, ‘I’m interested in environmental projects that lower carbon footprint. How can you support me in that?’” Jonathan is a founding member of the Repair the World Advisory Council and makes his own gift, but he also asks his family to make a gift to amplify the commitment. “They do it because I asked them,” he says. “It’s tremendously empowering!”

“We’re a fortunate group, but we agree that talking about money is always hard — even with your parents. The idea is to get these conversations started. The first thing I ask each new group is, ‘How many of you told your families that we asked you to participate in NextGen Legacy?’ I’m frequently surprised by how many have not! Having peers on the same journey as you takes away some of the hesitancy and helps you learn what is possible.”

To learn more about NextGen Legacy, and upcoming cohorts, contact Staci Eichelbaum, Director of Philanthropic Advising, Atlanta Jewish Foundation.

Supporting Holocaust Survivors: “Barry’s” Story

By AgeWell Atlanta, Aging, CARING, COMMUNITY, GLOBAL JEWRY, People in Need, PHILANTHROPY

by Cherie Aviv, Chair, Holocaust Survivor Support Fund

“Barry,” (his name has been changed for privacy) grew up in a loving Jewish home attending synagogue, observing Shabbat, playing dreidel, and eating Jewish foods. But when the National Socialists came to power and enforced Nazi rule, Barry was forced to wear a yellow star, quit school, leave home, and was transported by train to Auschwitz. By jumping off the train, and not getting caught or killed, he hid in the forest and used his skills, determination, and drive to survive. His family was not as fortunate and the horrors of that period left a mark on him, as it did on all Holocaust survivors.

Survivors of the Holocaust like Barry deserve to live out their lives comfortably, with dignity and support. Barry made a life for himself in Atlanta. As his health deteriorated, without family to care for him, financial resources to meet Barry’s needs became paramount. Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) provided case management and The Holocaust Survivor Support Fund (HSSF) provided funds so he could live his remaining days respectably and not alone, with a caregiver at his side. HSSF also provided Barry with grocery food gift cards, medical assistance, prescription assistance, and transportation help.

HSSF, convened by Federation, provides funds to meet the needs of Holocaust survivors, like Barry, as they get older and to supplement Claims Conference funds from Germany that are sent to social service agencies, in this case JF&CS. Claims Conference funds are insufficient to meet the needs of Barry and others like him, making HSSF support vital.

To support this important outreach: https://jewishatlanta.org/give/donate/

Our Responsibility
Holocaust survivors have a short window to receive this precious care. It is an act of community responsibility and an expression of the Jewish value of chesed (loving kindness) to care for the final generation of survivors who are still with us. As dollars deminish, our support for HSSF provides this very special population the opportunity to live their remaining years as fully as possible and with dignity.

Who does HSSF Support?
In Georgia, at least 218 of the 277 Holocaust survivors receive financial, social, reparations assistance, or support services. Of these 218, two thirds receive some type of financial assistance. Beginning in Fall 2020, HSSF funds also supported survivors in remote locations in the southeast that are served through JF&CS-Atlanta.

Needs are growing
The needs of survivors are growing as they age. The average survivor age is 86. More than 25 percent of survivors receiving financial support have annual incomes that fall below the Federal Poverty Level.
HSSF has allocated over $1.5 million for survivors through March 2021. This year alone, we project the financial need provided by HSSF to grow by 33 percent.
Supporting HSSF helps provide:

  •  Home-delivered meals — this has a significant impact by providing peace of mind and the comfort of a reliable food source.
  •  Grocery gift cards to improve survivors’ physical health by giving them access to more nutritious food options, and easing concerns about having enough food, which can be a source of anxiety.
  •  Prescription assistance, which takes a huge toll on survivors who may face large co-pays and often are on multiple expensive medications.
  •  Homecare, which provides the greatest need to help survivors with activities of daily living, from bathing, assistance with food intake and basic human needs.
  •  And much more…

HSSF, convened by Federation, is a partnership of Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Jewish Family & Career Services, Jewish HomeLife Communities, The Breman Museum, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, and Eternal Life-Hemshech to meet the increased needs of homecare, health care, social services, assisted living support, and financial assistance for Holocaust survivors in our community.

To support this important outreach https://jewishatlanta.org/give/donate/
To learn more about HSSF visit, https://jewishatlanta.org/give/philanthropic-opportunities/hssf/

Frances Bunzl Family Trust Gifts $5.6MM to Atlanta Jewish Community 

By Atlanta Jewish Foundation, CARING, COMMUNITY, JEWISH JOURNEYS, LIFE & LEGACY, People in Need, PHILANTHROPY

In 1939, shortly after Kristallnacht, 19-year-old Frances Bertha Hamburger escaped Germany and eventually made it to Atlanta. The Jewish community here helped her connect with other European Jewish immigrants. A few years later, she met Walter Bunzl and three months later they were married. The family never forgot the support of the Atlanta Jewish community and now, the Frances Bunzl Family Trust will disburse an approximately $5.6MM gift in equal shares to Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta (JF&CS). It is the largest endowed gift in both Federation and JF&CS’s history. 

“Frances was a visionary and a pioneer in communal service. Her personal experience as a lay leader inspired her desire to make a lasting imprint on our community,” noted Beth A. Warner, Federation’s Chief Philanthropy Officer. “This gift was many years in the making. Federation professionals and communal leaders met with Frances to discuss community priorities and goals to help her create a legacy that reflected her life-long philanthropic passions,” she explained.   

At Federation, the endowed funds will be directed for three initiatives. This includes funding the lead fundraising professional for the organization – the Frances Bunzl Chief Philanthropy Officer – the first time a Federation position has been endowed; the creation of the Frances and Walter Bunzl Perpetual Annual Campaign Endowment (PACE), which will ensure a major gift to Federation’s annual community campaign in perpetuity; and funding the Frances Bunzl NextGen initiative to support Jewish journeys for the next generation of Jewish community leaders. “It is also our hope that this endowment will inspire others to consider gifts of this magnitude and impact,” said Warner.

Generosity has always been a core value for the Bunzl family.   

“Throughout her life, my mother spoke of growing up in a family (both in Germany and here in Atlanta) that was focused on helping others,” said Suzy Wilner. “We believe her gifts to Federation and JF&CS will continue that legacy.” 

Jeff Alperin, Chair of the JF&CS Board commented, “This gift increases the JF&CS Foundation by 50%. This will have a direct impact on the agency’s ability to serve the needs of the Atlanta community. We are honored to receive this gift and will make sure these dollars are used to deliver the greatest impact.” 

At JF&CS, the generosity of Frances Bunzl will live on in perpetuity through its continued support of the nonsectarian agency’s operations. In honor of this generous gift, JF&CS will name its Clinical Service practice, ‘The Frances Bunzl Clinical Services.’ This service area provides mental health support for people of all ages and from all walks of life, offering both individual and group therapies across a broad spectrum of issues. “Naming this practice for the late Frances Bunzl honors the tremendous impact her gift will have on the health and well-being of our community,” said Chief Development Officer, Amanda La Kier.  

JF&CS CEO, Terri Bonoff said, “The challenges of the past year underscore the importance of planning for the unknown and ensuring vibrant Jewish life for generations to come. Choosing to spotlight the importance of mental health support by naming this service area in Frances Bunzl’s honor reflects the deep commitment JF&CS has to providing best-in-class support for the health and well-being of this community. Legacy gifts such as this one support Jewish Atlanta long into the future.” 

“This gift is indicative of the generosity we hope to inspire as part of our LIFE & LEGACY initiative, in which participating organizations embark on a legacy building program benefiting the entire Jewish community,” said Federation President and CEO, Eric Robbins. 

In the first two years of this four-year program, more than 270 local donors have made legacy commitments which will support Atlanta’s Jewish community with more than $23.3 million in future gifts. Worldwide, the LIFE & LEGACY program has motivated more than 17,000 donors in 63 communities across North America to commit more than a billion dollars in current as well as after-lifetime assets to the Jewish organizations which shaped their lives. For those interested in creating a legacy for the Jewish community, contact the Atlanta Jewish Foundation at foundation@jewishatlanta.org or www.atlantajewishfoundation.org. 

Photo courtesy of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.

Meet Michael Kay: This Year’s Lifetime of Achievement Award Winner

By COMMUNITY, PHILANTHROPY

Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta is delighted to announce that Michael Kay will be presented with the Lifetime of Achievement award virtually on February 15. Michael’s leadership and his deep commitment to both the Atlanta community and our Jewish community will be celebrated at this virtual event.

Michael was born in New York City, spent his boyhood in Pittsburgh, and earned a B.S. degree in Hotel Administration at Cornell University. He came to Atlanta in 1979 to run the then-fledgling Omni International Hotels, and in 1991 went on to become the turnaround CEO of LSG Sky Chefs, the largest provider of integrated in-flight airline catering, serving 270 airlines in 48 countries.

From the moment he came to Atlanta Michael credits two mentors, Tom Cousins, and Herbert Kohn, with inspiring him to engage with philanthropy.  “Tom taught me so much about this dynamic city, its opportunities, its challenges, and its most pressing human needs. Herbert was my guide to Jewish Atlanta. The first time we met, he heard I’d been on the board of Family Services in San Francisco. The very next day he called and invited me to get involved at JF&CS. It has been my Jewish center of gravity for many years.”

Michael is the current Chair of the Board of the Jewish Community Legacy Project and is a past board chair for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta where he created the first donor-advised fund committee and chaired the investment committee. He served on the Federation board when Steve Rakitt was CEO and chaired the creation of a strategic plan with Mike Leven. At JF&CS, where Michael chaired the board and served for two years, he and his wife Ann were honorary co-chairs of the capital campaign that resulted in an expanded campus and new space for the agency’s innovative IndependenceWorks program. He currently sits on the boards of The Weber School and the MJCCA. After serving on the national board of Repair the World, Michael and Ann assisted in helping bring Repair to Atlanta, now in its second year serving our community.

In the wider community, Michael served on the boards of YearUp Atlanta, United Way, The Center for Working Families, KIPP Schools in Atlanta, and Points of Light Institute.

Michael believes the “superpowers” he leveraged as a nonprofit board member all come from his experiences in the business world.  “I can see and start with the big picture, but always have the end goal in mind.  I’m a believer in championing success, recognizing it and celebrating it. And I’m a transparent leader who will always tell the truth.”

Even in retirement, Michael is incredibly busy. “Ann told me, ‘I’ll give you 30 days in the house, after retirement, to decide what you’re going to do.’ So, I divide my time into thirds — the nonprofit world, the business world, and white space to play and dream.” Michael and Ann are the parents of four children and eight grandchildren, several of whom live in Atlanta, and all of whom light up their lives.

Please register here to honor Michael Kay with this richly deserved award.

Virtual Learning Wasn’t Cutting it for their Kids: Thanks to ALEF Fund, they’re an Epstein family now

By ALEF Fund, COMMUNITY, JEWISH JOURNEYS, PHILANTHROPY

When DeKalb County Public Schools announced that they would start the 2020-21 school year virtually, Susan and Scott Rosenbaum were worried.

“We were desperate for a safe, high quality, face-to-face learning option. Our second-grade son had a miserable spring with worksheets and videos. He needed a small class and a real live teacher. Our daughter was entering kindergarten. We wanted her to learn with other kids, not on a computer.”

“We toured The Epstein School and loved their model — two teachers in each classroom, small class size, and the wonderful mix of Judaics and secular studies. But tuition for two kids was not do-able for us. When we learned we qualified for scholarship support for both kids through ALEF Fund we were overjoyed. “

“This year at the Thanksgiving table when we went around to say what we were thankful for, my son said, ‘I’m thankful for my awesome school.’”

Susan and Scott were contributors to ALEF Fund even when their kids were in public school, years before they transferred to a Jewish day school. They knew it was an easy way to take the state taxes they’d have to pay anyway and turn them into scholarships supporting 20 different Jewish day schools and Jewish preschools in Georgia. “Everyone should support ALEF Fund,” Susan says. “The impact is huge.”

ALEF Fund needs you to support Jewish education! Hurry and renew your pledge. You have until December 31 to apply for a 2021 tax credit. Don’t miss this opportunity to support Jewish education. Our website, aleffund.org, is open for pledges. Renewing is easy — just log on as a returning user and follow the prompts. If you need assistance, call Rachel Rosner at 404-870-1879 and she will be happy to assist you.

As a past participant, you know that ALEF Fund is a win-win: redirecting state tax dollars to scholarships for hundreds of families a year.

Using Foundation Tools to Build the Jewish Future

By Atlanta Jewish Foundation, CARING, COMMUNITY, PHILANTHROPY

Elaine and Jerry Blumenthal’s oldest son Matthew was five years old when he was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. Matthew’s special needs, and a deepening commitment to Jewish life set a chain of events in motion that had a profound impact on the whole family.  I grew up in a warm, orthodox Jewish family in Savannah,” Jerry says. “Elaine grew up in Topeka, Kansas where there were only about 100 Jews in the whole town. It wasn’t until we attended a retreat at Camp Barney where Rabbi Irving (Yitz”) Greenberg was the scholar in residence, that our family began to walk a road to greater Jewish observance.It became clear to us that Matthew and all our kids really belonged in Jewish day school. The Hebrew Academy, which is now Atlanta Jewish Academy, was the community day school that made sense for us. Matthew attended from first grade through graduation. Eventually, with the encouragement of Rabbi Goodman at the Ahavath Achim Synagogue, we decided to have a kosher home.”

“Matthew’s positive experience showed us how day school could knit a Jewish community together,” says Elaine. “Hebrew Academy enrolled kids from every denomination. When Matthew was in his bar mitzvah year, he attended his classmates’ simchas (celebrations) at every single synagogue in town. When it was his turn to become a bar mitzvah, we were members of Temple Sinai, but even the more observant students came. They took a hotel room together so they could walk to synagogue and celebrate with us. They were among Matthew’s best friends.”

After Matthew died at age 24, the head of school at Hebrew Academy knew we were looking for a way to memorialize him. Mathew’s grandparents, Saul and Adele Blumenthal, donated the seed money to start up the Matthew Blumenthal M’silot (Pathways) Program supporting children with special needs. With their sustaining gift and support from our endowment fund at Atlanta Jewish Foundation, the M’silot program continues at Atlanta Jewish Academy.”

To this day we depend on Atlanta Jewish Foundation to manage and grow our investments, not only for M’silot, but for The Jewish Home, JF&CS, Birthright Israel, Hillels of Georgia, Limmud Atlanta, and non-Jewish charities as well. When you have your funds put away in an endowment you can continue to support the things you care about. You don’t have to worry that the funds won’t be there or that current income won’t be adequate. You can use stocks, bonds, and appreciated assets to build a solid foundation for your charitable portfolio.”

“The Foundation supports things we don’t even know about! By using the tools provided by Atlanta Jewish Foundation like donor-advised funds and endowments, we feel like we’re securing the Jewish future.”

 

 

 

Mississippi Jewish Childhood Inspires 25+ Years of Giving

By CARING, COMMUNITY, PHILANTHROPY

Growing up Jewish in rural Cary, Mississippi, in a cotton farming family, Deborah Lamensdorf Jacobs quickly understood that she was a living exemplar of her faith. She reflects, “It was really an honor to represent Judaism in our small community. The way we treated our neighbors underscored what we believed in. We valued education and opportunity. At my father’s funeral two years ago in Vicksburg, a man came through the receiving line and told me how when he was trying to raise funds to establish the Cary Christian Health Center to help minorities, the churches turned him down. My uncle and my father were the first ones who stepped up to fund the center. That’s an early example of how I saw philanthropy as a child. It was how we lived our values.”

Years later, as a young woman, that imprint remained strong. Deborah ventured to Atlanta and quickly became involved in Jewish organizational life. While volunteering at a Federation phone-a-thon, a single guy named Lou Jacobs asked for her phone number. They married soon after and together raised a family whose life was enriched by synagogue, Jewish day school, Jewish camp, BBYO, and the MJCCA, to name just a few. No surprise then, that for more than 25 years the Jacobs have made their largest annual gift to Federation. As a Silver Circle donor Deborah says with pride, “Life showed me that Jews are community builders — people who see a need and fulfill it. That’s the spirit of Federation.”

Have you made your 2021 Community Campaign pledge yet? Donate here.

Silver Circle Donor, Kevin Cranman – Why I Give

By COMMUNITY, PHILANTHROPY

by Kevin Cranman

It’s been my pleasure to support Federation’s Community Campaign, and to hear that I’ve been doing it for over 25 years makes me feel good, not old! After returning to Atlanta from law school in 1993, I began to participate in Federation activities, including the national convention in 1996, which is where I met my wonderful wife, Sheila Friedman Cranman. I enjoyed serving on the Young Leadership Program and being invited to serve with leaders like Joe Rubin and Lynne Halpern on the 2001-2002 Community Campaigns. I enjoyed sitting at the “big kids” table and learning about the allocations process.

Today Sheila and I have two daughters: Katherine, a senior, who has attended Atlanta Jewish Academy (AJA) since first grade, and Caroline, 15, who attended through eighth grade. I’ve also served on the AJA Board of Trustees so I understand the challenges of sustaining an organization and how important support from the community, including Federation, can be. We’re also grateful for the assistance of other Federation beneficiary agencies, like JF&CS and The One Group (part of Jewish HomeLife), which have provided opportunities for Sheila’s dad to volunteer, and later provided assistance when he became ill in 2019.

Though my active participation has ebbed and flowed over the years, the benefits I received both personally, and as part of a larger community, far exceeded the time or money I contributed. The important part is that we work collectively to support the community. I’ve continued to support Federation not only because it seems like the right thing to do, but because Federation serves as a centralized organization to collect funds for efficient allocation, as well as to provide other services and support to the community. What an honor to be a 25+ year Silver Circle donor.