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


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 or 

Photo courtesy of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.

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


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


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,, 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


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


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 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.

What will you do this New Year?

By CARING, COMMUNITY, People in Need, PHILANTHROPY, Uncategorized

Wishing each other a sweet and healthy Jewish new year is traditional on the high holidays. But this year, it’s not enough! Jewish hopes and needs in a COVID world are poignant and powerful.

In a year unlike any other, your gift to the 2021 Community Campaign really can make hopes and dreams come true. So many are counting on us. Please give to the 2021 Community Campaign today!

Kenny Silverboard: A Community Campaign Champion


Kenny Silverboard, who leads our Business and Professionals division, is a veteran of many Federation Community Campaigns, yet he’s anything but blasé about his sixth one. Today, as the 2021 Campaign opens, Kenny cannot wait to engage with the community. “In a town full of transplants, I’m a Jewish unicorn — an Atlanta native son (Morningside Elementary School, Grady HS, Georgia State) with deep ties in the Jewish community.”

“Though the pandemic has taken away face-to-face events and large meetings, I believe there‘s a much deeper understanding of Federation’s value to the community now. Our donors saw us take the lead with the COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which allowed our partners to deliver essential services and keep their doors open. They know we support the entire community, as well as needs in Israel. I know from the bottom of my heart that the community will step up for the Community Campaign to sustain the whole ecosystem for today and the future.”

Asked how he “trains” for the Community Campaign, Kenny says, “I live by the words of Mark Twain: Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life. “Because I love what I do, I take what we do seriously, while not taking myself too seriously.”  Kenny is ready to receive your 2021 pledge: contact him at

Federation Women in Cuba


Federation Women Support Nutrition and Education in Cuba

Cuba’s Jewish population, once 15,000 strong, is now a tiny remnant estimated at about 1,100 people. Since the government lifted the ban on religious practice, they are thriving as a community, however they remain economically fragile. Like all Cubans, Jews live with food rationing and lack many basic resources. Milk, which has so many nutritional benefits, is a commodity in short supply and is only provided to children under the age of seven. That’s why, on their recent Federation and Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) mission to Cuba, Atlanta women took on the mitzvah of supporting a milk program and a Sunday school for Cuban Jewish children and teenagers. The Sunday school is held at El Patronato, Havana’s Jewish Community Center and Conservative synagogue. Children learn about Jewish holidays, and culture, study bible and learn Hebrew. Adults have classes at the nearby Sephardic Hebrew Center. “Cuba’s Jews are so vulnerable,” said Debbie Schafer, Director of Women’s Philanthropy. “The Atlanta women chose the milk project because they are mothers! It was a simple and satisfying way enhance the educational and nutritional needs of children and teens.”

In Cuba, the government provides 1 kg. of powdered milk per month per child through its ration stores. Thanks to the generosity of our Women’s Mission, extra powdered milk is now given to all Jewish students (under age 25) who attend classes at El Patronato, are enrolled in school during the week and do not have jobs. The same 1 kg. of milk is also given to the fourteen Sunday school teachers. In addition, all students — children, teens, youth and adults — are offered a glass of milk with their snack during a break in Sunday school.

This October 10-14, Federation and JDC are offering another Atlanta community mission to Cuba to shine a light on Jewish community needs. Like all JDC-sponsored trips, participants will also have opportunities to support ongoing projects in Cuba to make the lives of Cuban Jews better. Reservations are on a first-come-first-served basis. If you would like more information about the trip, please contact Staci Eichelbaum, Director of Philanthropy.