Legacy Magazine: Opening a Fund Is Just the Beginning

by Steve Gamer, Vice President of Advancement

Financial services institutions play a vital role in the smooth functioning of our society. Among many other things, they enable us to secure home mortgages, finance business transactions, and take out loans for college. Yet, there is one area of impact where a bank or brokerage firm’s abilities can’t match the combination of knowledge, expertise, and service offered by a nonprofit like the Jewish Community Foundation. When it comes to strengthening the social fabric through philanthropy, there is no better vehicle for most individuals and families than The Foundation’s signature Donor Advised Fund (DAF).

Simplicity is Key

The idea behind the DAF is simple: By opening a fund with The Foundation, you gain an easy, accessible tool for making charitable donations — without the administrative headaches. You tell us where to direct your donor dollars, and we take care of the rest, providing you with one centralized location for recording your gifts and tracking your tax deductions. It’s a powerful approach to giving that has attracted record-breaking investment: The Foundation currently manages more than $1.5 billion in assets entrusted to us by 1,400 families, ranking us among the 10 largest foundations in Los Angeles.

There’s a reason so many people turn to The Foundation to dispense their charitable gifts. The secret to our success is service — going well beyond the resources that a bank or brokerage makes available to clients in order to maximize our donors’ effectiveness in making a difference for local communities.

The secret to our success is service — going well beyond the resources that a bank or brokerage makes available to clients.

Value-Added Benefits

Opening a DAF with The Foundation is just the beginning. Once your DAF has been established, you have complimentary access to our Center for Designed Philanthropy, a seasoned team of professionals dedicated to helping you explore your interests and meet your giving goals. Through the Center, we empower you to craft meaningful giving strategies that leverage our deep knowledge in areas ranging from homelessness, social welfare, and early childhood development to Israel and Jewish engagement.

Understanding the Landscape

We have an intimate understanding of the nonprofit landscape across Los Angeles and Israel, and we share our information and insight through far-reaching educational programs (in person and online) that keep you abreast of the latest trends in philanthropy. Our educational series Insights on Giving: A Series of Talks on Philanthropy brings donors up close and personal with leading thinkers and practitioners spanning a comprehensive array of subject areas. In addition, our popular donor and grantee networking events allow you to build vital partnerships with other like-minded individuals focused on advancing tikkun olam, repair of the world and the pursuit of justice.

Connected to Something Bigger

These collaborations are a significant benefit to giving through a DAF because they connect you to something bigger: a group of people banding together to advance the common good. Working in concert as part of a larger community dramatically increases the effect of an individual contribution and expands the potential positive outcome for the specific cause at hand.

A Major Distinction

One question I often encounter from donors is what The Foundation does with the fee we charge for administering a DAF. The answer showcases another key distinction between The Foundation and a traditional bank. In both cases, a portion of the fee goes toward the cost of running the DAF, but that’s where the similarities end because we each have a different definition for what constitutes our bottom line. Banks see DAF fees as an important revenue center: the income they generate translates to shareholder profit. At The Foundation, we channel those fees into additional grants that will make our community better, essentially multiplying the power of every contribution. It’s a double blessing: When you donate through a Foundation DAF, your gift does good, and the fee you pay helps it do even better.

Doing right by the community has afforded us a longevity that many other institutions lack. We are proud to work alongside multiple generations of families (often, wealth creators and their children and grandchildren), who turn to us for guidance about putting values into action and leaving a vibrant legacy. We look forward to speaking with you and your loved ones as well, and we encourage you to reach out to us to learn more.

We are proud to work alongside multiple generations of families who turn to us for guidance…

To explore more about the benefits of a DAF — particularly before year end, please contact our Development office at 323.761.8704 or development@jewishfoundationla.org

This article was featured in The Foundation’s Fall 2022 Legacy magazine.