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New beginnings


By Jesse Feld, President & CEO

Richmond Jewish Foundation

While many of our fellow American’s are working on their New Year’s resolutions, we in the Jewish community get an inherent head start by celebrating the new year twice every year, one time on January 1st, and the other time on Rosh Hashannah.

I’ve always felt very lucky to have both opportunities to step back and evaluate what changes to make, what can be improved, refreshed and who else can I help, that I wasn’t able to last year.

Leadership here at Richmond Jewish Foundation feels the same way, which is why this is the perfect time for us to start telling you about Life & Legacy 2.0.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Life & Legacy is a program from the internationally renowned Harold Grinspoon Foundation, that assists communities, through partnerships with Jewish Foundations, to promote after-lifetime giving to build endowments that will provide financial stability to Jewish day schools, synagogues, social service organizations, and other Jewish entities.

Over the last five years, the Life & Legacy program has had a tremendous impact on our community, really transforming the philanthropic landscape and culture while providing a strong foundation for our community’s future.  By the end of our fifth year, our community institutions have secured almost 540 legacy commitments from 385 donors. That collective donor base has made commitments that will result in financial support for our community at a projected $20.5+ million!

While we are proud of this accomplishment, the time has come to improve and refresh the program to ensure the future of our community is even more vibrant and lively than it already is today. After exhaustive research by Lauren Plotkin, RJF’s Legacy program director, we are excited to share a couple of details about Life & Legacy 2.0.

Our objectives as we embark into 2.0 are to: 1) Sustain the future of our Jewish community through thoughtful and integrated legacy giving programs at our local Jewish institutions, 2) Steward, inspire and educate current and future generation of Jewish legacy donors in our local community, and 3) Strengthen RJF’s role as motivator, educator and collaborator of legacy giving.

Katie Roeper

We are excited to introduce Katie Roeper as RJF’s first chair of Life & Legacy.

Katie, a past president of Congregation Beth Ahabah, a member of the Beth Ahabah L&L team, RJF board of directors, holds a critical role as we enter the next phase of our legacy giving program.

You will start to see more seminars, workshops and opportunities to learn more about what it takes to spread the word about the redoubling of our efforts.

According to the Giving USA Foundation, 1-in-3 donors to nonprofits (33%) are willing to leave a legacy, but we see a far less percentage actually doing so.

Armed with this information, we know that it is our holy duty at RJF to make sure that every donor in our community is given a chance to leave a legacy.

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled as more information is released throughout the beginning of 2022. Join our email list, and connect with me directly at jesse@rjfoundation.org or by calling (804) 545-8656.

Wishing you all a great start to the New Year – we can’t wait to see you soon.


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