Jewish Federation helping legacies take root

Endowments keep giving forever. And starting this month, 15 Chicago-area Jewish organizations will get the help they need building endowments that will help sustain them for years to come, thanks to the newly launched Create a Jewish Legacy-Chicago.

The Chicago program, which joins similar efforts in cities around the country, is fully funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and an anonymous donor, and is managed by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Through the program, leaders and staff from a cross-section of schools, synagogues, social service agencies and a museum will learn the ins and outs of structuring, operating and securing gifts for endowments that will provide a steady and potentially growing stream of funding.

Create a Jewish Legacy is designed to assist a variety of Jewish organizations throughout the Chicago area in developing or enhancing endowment-based support,” Chair Jane Cadden Lederman said. “As we have seen in the wake of the recent economic downturn, the ability to maintain the scope of services in our schools, synagogues, organizations and agencies has become that much more challenging. Building strong endowments creates an ongoing, reliable source of funds to sustain our Jewish community for future generations.

Interest in the effort has been strong. Some 70 representatives from 40 organizations joined the kick-off informational session. Thirty groups applied to participate, and 15 of them, representing the diversity of Chicago’s Jewish community, were selected by a panel of lay leaders. The Federation also will work with the groups that were not selected.

The groups chosen are Am Yisrael, Chicago Jewish Day School, Chicago Sinai Congregation, CJE SeniorLife, Hebrew Theological College, Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Jewish Child & Family Services, Keshet, North Shore Congregation Israel, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Oak Park Temple, Solomon Schechter Day School, Temple Jeremiah and The ARK.

To learn more about Create a Jewish Legacy, contact Naomi Shapiro at (312) 357-4963 or

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