Legacy Magazine: Fall 2021 Reflections by Marvin Schotland

Jewish Community Foundation Los Angeles Marvin I. Schotland, President & CEO

Light at the End of the Tunnel

by Marvin Schotland, Foundation President & CEO




Something I had been looking forward to finally happened. Recently, I had the pleasure of returning to The Foundation’s office for a day of work — under strict social distancing and health protocols — for the first time since the pandemic began, and it felt wonderful. After 19 months of working remotely along with our entire staff, I was finally back in a place so familiar. It was very reassuring.

It made me reflect on all that has transpired over the past 19 months. In March of 2020, we ventured into the great unknown, and no one could have imagined what was coming next. There was fear, trepidation, confusion, worry — and very turbulent times ahead.

What gave me confidence that The Foundation would persevere through the uncertainty was the professionalism of our staff. Although suddenly working remotely indefinitely seemed daunting, I knew that it would bring out the best in our highly talented team. After more than one-and-a-half years of this journey — and after awarding $12 million in Foundation grants for pandemic-related relief locally and in Israel — that confidence has been borne out. Our staff did a remarkable job under the most challenging circumstances — and we’re not out of the woods just yet.

Another source of comfort during these turbulent times was the fact that hundreds of Foundation donors gave so generously for pandemic relief through their Donor Advised Funds (DAFs).

From what I have observed, DAFs helped give people a sense of normalcy during the turmoil. They allowed our family of donors to easily lend critical support throughout the pandemic. And they gave donors a sense of purpose amid chaos. As you read about the growing popularity of DAFs in this Legacy, remember they offer reassurance when the world feels in disarray.

As we prepare to celebrate Chanukah, I think that just like the Maccabees rededicated the ancient Temple after it was defiled and rekindled the lights of the menorah, we at The Foundation are rededicating ourselves to our mission of tikkun olam. We’re starting to come together cautiously in our office with a renewed sense of unity, and we can now more clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel.

May the lights of the Chanukah candles shine brightly in your home, and may you experience a new spirit of togetherness, enabling you to appreciate the good in your lives.

This article was featured in The Foundation’s Fall 2021 Legacy magazine.