Growing With Your Fund

by Josh Kerr | Apr 14, 2021
Regardless of your age, you have options to grow your Endowment and the impact it makes

Jona Frohlich, a 29-year-old student, currently finishing her Ph.D. in Psychology, established a Bat Mitzvah Fund when she was 12 years old, as many young Jewish community members do. Every fall, she would receive a letter in the mail asking what she would like to do with the income that her Bat Mitzvah fund had earned; which charity she would like to support.

"All I really knew was that at the time of my Bat Mitzvah, my fund was established," says Frohlich, "and then each year, I could choose where I wanted it to go. I didn't know much else." 

Recently, she reached out to the Foundation in hopes of taking more control of her fund. Now settling into adulthood and keenly aware and appreciative of all that she had growing up, Frohlich hopes to increase her financial contributions to the community. This conversation led Frohlich to increase her total yearly donation and decided the JFM's monthly giving program would be the perfect tool to help her build her annual contribution steadily over time.   

"It's nice because I was able to commit now, and the Foundation took care of the rest," says Frohlich. "There aren't monthly forms to fill out or anything, and I can update when I want to down the road if my situation changes."   

If a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Fund reaches $750 within two years of its opening, the Nora & David (z’l) Kaufman Bar/Bat Mitzvah Fund will contribute $250, bringing its total to $1,000. Once it reaches that threshold, the fund becomes donor-recommended.

What does that mean? 

Quite simply, it means that you can recommend where its distributions go. If Jewish summer camps are near and dear to your heart, each of them has an endowment fund at the JFM where you can direct your monies permanently to support them. If JCFS has played a special role in your life, they have an endowment fund as well. 

"It wasn't until later that I realized the sort of things I benefited from when I was younger," says Frohlich. "How fortunate I was, experiencing so many things in the community, whether its campership or school awards or anything else."    

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Funds also allow for flexibility, leading to a fundholder's next option: choosing to dedicate their funds to a Special Interest Fund or Organizational Endowment Fund permanently. As the fundholder changes and the fund grows, priorities often change. Any registered charity can benefit from your yearly distributions.

Middle school turns into high school, high school into university, and university into adulthood. The lifecycle of your endowment Fund can reflect that.

These Special Interest Funds, like the Women's Endowment Fund or Campership Fund, to name a few, ensure that your contributions will continue to be used for things that matter most to you forever. You will no longer be tasked with recommending your distributions each year; rest assured knowing that you're contributing to an initiative that needs it within your chosen Special Interest Fund. 

When it comes time to make these decisions, one of the best and easiest ways to continue contributing is through monthly giving. By doing so, you'll maintain your contributions, benefit from flexibility, and have peace of mind knowing that you're contributing year-round. 

Alternatively, suppose there is not a Special Interest Fund for you. In that case, your fund's contributions can become a part of Undesignated Grants, which are grants guided by the JFM to meet our Jewish community's greatest needs, and enrich the lives of its members. 

No-matter how your fund looks as it grows, one of the most significant advantages of monthly giving is the ease it places on your wallet. At the end of each year, we're constantly hit with expenses that add up, and each year it causes stress. With monthly giving, that stress is replaced by a calm, rewarding feeling of knowing that you're still making as strong of an impact, but without the heavy year-end burden. 

Whether you choose to keep the distributions in your hands or choose to put them in ours, they will help our community continue to thrive as it has for years.