When Atlanta Jewish Foundation (AJF) philanthropists Amy Fox and her husband, Dr. Chuck Fox, relocated to Atlanta about 14 years ago, they were drawn in by the warmth of the community, the greater ease of living, and the prospect of having a choice of day schools for their children.
As stewards in this community that has given them so much, Amy says having a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) with AJF has “helped us to be much more thoughtful in our giving. Instead of logistically trying to figure out how to give out money each time, we do it all at once. Then we can take our time and really plan how we want to give.”
Jewish education and continuity have been at the top of the list of causes they want to support from the get-go. After all, their now-16-year-old twins, Ben and Sydney, attended The Epstein School all the way through 8th grade, and benefitted from the experience immensely. (Sydney, now at Riverwood High School, is currently part of JumpSpark’s inaugural Strong Women Fellowship cohort.)
Amy’s deep immersion in our Jewish community is a far cry from the life she knew growing up, raised in the small farming community of Staunton, VA, where she, her parents and siblings comprised one of just a handful of other Jewish families for miles around.
“My whole life, people had been telling me ‘you’re Jewish.’ But I had no idea what that meant,” she said.
All that shifted when Amy attended Tulane University in New Orleans and bonded with other Jewish college students from around the country. There, she remembers being amazed to learn that there were so many different ways to be Jewish — and feeling something that had always been missing click into place.
“When I went to college, that’s when I was born into who I am now,” she said. “Tulane gave me the next life, a sense of belonging.”
Today, as a Frank Mission alumna, current Wexner fellow, and co-chair of the Lions Division for Women’s Philanthropy, Amy gets to help foster that sense of communal belonging in others, having most recently worked passionately on recruitment for the JCC Maccabi Games in 2019, which Atlanta is hosting.
She says her commitment to the Games came from watching the utter joy on her kids’ faces after they themselves participated in Birmingham and St. Louis Games.
Amy sees this summer as Jewish Atlanta’s chance to roll out the red carpet and be ambassadors for the city, providing a rallying point against the sprawl and terrible traffic that often prevents disparate neighborhoods from coming together.
What better reason to crawl through Atlanta’s winding streets, after all, than to cheer on the 550 Atlanta student athletes already signed on to spread Maccabi’s positive message?
“This is about us being proud about being Jews from Atlanta. About hosting 1,200 kids to come here and to show them that this is an awesome place and that some time they may want to come to college here,” Amy said. “Or someday, they just may want to live here.”
Amy and Chuck fervently hope that when Sydney and Ben are older, they, too, will become involved in philanthropic giving, and that AJF will provide the perfect vehicle for it.
“They have their own passions, and they might want to start giving to those organizations. Plus, it’s good for our community,” she said. “So, for me, I just feel like it’s a no brainer and everybody should give through AJF.”