Legacy Magazine: Why A Community Foundation?
by Natella Royzman, Vice President, Charitable Gift Planning
When I arrived at the Jewish Community Foundation in 2017 to work in the Development Department, I knew I had landed someplace special. It hit me immediately: In my prior job as a bankruptcy and business litigation attorney, my work was highly transactional. The focus was always “How can I get (or keep) something from somebody?” At The Foundation, it was a different paradigm altogether; now people called me to ask, “How do I give something to somebody?” I couldn’t have been more thrilled.
Four years later, I’m even happier than I was before. I was reflecting on this recently as I thought about how to respond to an inquiry I had received from a potential Foundation donor who wanted to understand the difference between The Foundation and other Donor Advised Fund sponsor organizations he was researching. The answer fills me with pride.
Although all organizations that have a Donor Advised Fund program must legally be a public charity, the other organizations this donor was considering are the charitable arms of profit-seeking businesses. They would not exist if they didn’t generate significant business for the financial institutions they are connected to by way of investment management, administrative, and recordkeeping services.
When you open a fund at The Foundation, you start a relationship — one based on common values, shared goals, and a mutual commitment to our community.
The Jewish Community Foundation came into existence long before any of the many commercial Donor Advised Fund sponsors that exist today. Our mission and philosophy have always had everything to do with strengthening our community and nothing to do with generating profits.
The amount of energy and expertise that goes into each of our grant cycles is tremendous, and the cumulative influence on our local community over the years is profound. A portion of the fees we collect at The Foundation address local needs through our institutional grantmaking. Everyone who has a fund at The Foundation can be proud to take part in making all this possible.
I think what it boils down to is this: When you open a fund at The Foundation, you start a relationship — one based on common values, shared goals, and a mutual commitment to our community.
That relationship comes with other benefits, including the kind of personal attention better associated with a bygone era in which integrity and service meant something. For example, as a Foundation donor, you can consult with our team of experts about your giving to help identify your passions and focus on one specific interest area or several. Whether you’re passionate about Jewish education in Los Angeles, housing for the homeless, or special needs in Israel — to name just a few — we can connect you with outstanding nonprofits addressing your concerns, all on a complimentary basis. Our deep experience addressing the issues and challenges facing our local community and Israel serves as the basis for our institutional grantmaking and the philanthropic guidance we provide to our donors.
The Foundation is a family. It’s what’s kept us going for nearly 70 years and what I believe will advance our progress for another seven decades and well beyond.
We are living through challenging times, and if the past nearly two years of illness and isolation have taught us anything, it is that we are all interdependent. We need each other, and we can achieve more together. Since the outset of the pandemic, The Foundation has committed more than $12 million in grants for COVID-19 relief. Those grants are not only in addition to our donors’ individual charitable endeavors, but also because of them — made possible by the fees that exist for the very purpose of extending our collective philanthropic reach.
Even during these difficult days, I love what I do. Giving back is an act of hope, of envisioning the world we would like to create. My work at The Foundation affords me the opportunity and blessing to be with people at their very best while they contemplate ways to improve our society. The Foundation is here to help you lay the groundwork for a meaningful and enduring legacy.
If the past nearly two years of illness and isolation have taught us anything, it is that we are all interdependent. We need each other, and we can achieve more together.
This article was featured in The Foundation’s Fall 2021 Legacy magazine.