Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation)?

Established in 1954, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles manages charitable assets of more than $1.3 billion entrusted to it by 1,400 families. The Foundation partners with donors to shape meaningful philanthropic strategies, magnify the impact of giving, and build enduring charitable legacies. In 2022, The Foundation and its donors distributed nearly $160 million to more than 2,500 nonprofits that span the range of philanthropic giving. Over the past 10 years, it has distributed nearly $1 billion to thousands of nonprofits across a diverse spectrum.

Will The Foundation solicit me for annual campaign gifts on behalf of other organizations?

No. The Foundation does not solicit annual campaign gifts from its donors on behalf of any organization.

Will personal and financial information I share be treated confidentially?

Yes. The Foundation strictly guards the privacy of all donors and their sensitive personal and financial information. All communications, documents and discussions are held in the highest confidence.

Who is responsible for investing my money?

The Foundation's highly skilled Investment Committee - a group of professional money managers who oversee portfolios totaling more than $20 billion for investment management firms, brokerage houses, banks and corporations - is responsible for managing your money. The Investment Committee regularly reviews the financial markets and economic environment to decide upon the best asset mix. It also uses investment management firms whose proven expertise, within specific asset styles, offers an opportunity for outstanding performance in rising markets, while limiting losses in difficult ones. The Foundation offers donors several Investment Options for Donor Advised Funds, including Fidelity mutual funds, Israel bonds, The Foundation's own Strategic Return Fund, and cash.

I have mutual funds with a brokerage house that offers charitable funds. Why shouldn't I open my charitable fund there?

The Foundation is an integral part of the local Jewish community and the Los Angeles community at large and as such, offers you comprehensive guidance through its network of collaborative relationships. The Foundation, with its commitment to personal service, can offer strategic guidance and consulting on best philanthropic practices through its staff's expertise as well as the Center for Designed Philanthropy, a service not offered by national commercial brokerage firms.

I'm thinking of starting my own private foundation. Is there any value in working with The Foundation?

Yes. We've helped many people set up real alternatives to private foundations. The Foundation has programs that are more tax advantageous and without any of the distribution requirements, excise taxes and other headaches associated with starting your own foundation. You can also use assets like real estate and closely-held stock which are problematic to use in funding a private foundation. If you establish a Family Support Organization, we take care of all bookkeeping, compliance issues and other record-keeping, so you and your foundation board can keep focused on the joy of philanthropy and fulfilling your charitable passions, and leave the administration and management to us.

Why should I establish a fund at The Foundation versus setting up my own private foundation?

Having a fund at The Foundation will spare you the paperwork, research, administration and staff costs involved in managing an independently-run private foundation. Additionally, with broad expertise in charitable giving practices, The Foundation is able to strategically guide you in meeting your philanthropic, as well as tax and estate planning objectives. Please visit the Giving section for more information about the range of funds and services we offer. Further, our Center for Designed Philanthropy helps donors shape meaningful, personalized philanthropic strategies, build consensus among families, and develop creative solutions to magnify the impact of their giving.

How do The Foundation and its donors help the community?

Our donors use their funds at The Foundation to make charitable distributions to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations in both the Jewish community and the community at large. The Foundation itself awards grants on a competitive basis to nonprofit organizations and agencies primarily in the Greater Los Angeles Jewish community, as well as in the community at large and in Israel. In 2019, The Foundation and its donors distributed $128 million in grants to more than 2,700 nonprofits with programs that span the range of philanthropic giving.

Do the Foundation and its donors support only Jewish causes?

No. The Foundation is committed to the concept of tikkun olam - repairing the world. As such, we and our donors support nonprofit organizations and programs in both the Jewish community and the community at large. These include Jewish, as well as non-denominational organizations such as colleges and universities, health organizations, environmental causes, and social service groups, among others.

I have my own family foundation, but I'd like help in planning my giving. Can The Foundation be of service?

Yes. The Foundation's Center for Designed Philanthropy is a one-stop consulting and information center designed to help people maximize the impact of their philanthropic giving. Through a series of educational events and information sharing practices, participants in the Center can learn more about strategically planning their philanthropy and collaborating with other philanthropists on areas of mutual concern.