If you are at all like me, constancy counts a great deal. Even as we welcome progress and change, there is a certain comfort each of us derives from stability and predictability—especially in a tumultuous, fast-paced world. I know that this same steady-handed stewardship attracts many of our donors to The Foundation.
That virtue also is a common characteristic among the outstanding individuals who have chaired our Board of Trustees, culminating with the recent election in February of Bill Feiler. Bill possesses a deep understanding of The Foundation as a longstanding donor: his service as a trustee, officer, and cochair of our Investment Committee all speak to his admirable leadership skills. And, as with those who preceded him, Bill will apply energy and vision to leave his own indelible imprint that helps shape The Foundation’s future.
That certainly is the case with Bill’s immediate predecessor, Larry Rauch. During Larry’s very successful four-year tenure, our assets surpassed $1 billion, contributions equaled $508 million, and we distributed grants of $322 million. Knowing Larry as I do, he would happily share praise for these accomplishments with his fellow officers, trustees, and our professional staff but, most significantly, with our donors without whom our good works would not be possible.
Let me share precisely what our donors' generosity enabled in 2016. Total assets rose to nearly $1.1 billion, inflow to The Foundation was $135 million, and we made more than $81 million in grant distributions. As our asset base expands, monies available for key Foundation initiatives rises commensurately as well. To that point, funding from the Raymond J. and Shirley R. Kornfeld Endowment Fund, which supports education and medical causes, doubled funding available for the 2016 General Community Grants, which supported college access and career readiness for foster youth. Overall, our Cutting Edge, General Community, and Israel Grants rose nearly 40 percent to about $4.4 million last year from approximately $3.1 million in 2015.
When reflecting on our formidable growth, I cannot help but think of The Foundation’s earliest visionary leaders who, in 1954, saw the need for permanent resources to sustain an emerging Jewish Los Angeles and a nascent state of Israel. They and our subsequent leaders—such as Bill and Larry—together with our family of donors have much to be proud of!