The East Valley JCC recently celebrated its fourth year of participation in the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix’s Life & Legacy program, which so far has secured legacy commitments with an estimated value of $31.4 million.

The EVJCC is one of 12 local community partners that participated in this national initiative that was launched in 2012 by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, a Massachusetts- based nonprofit, with a goal to assist Jewish communities integrate after-lifetime giving into their cultures. Together, the 12 organizations secured more than 750 legacy commitment gifts, according to the Jewish News.

Rabbi Michael Beyo, EVJCC CEO; George Goffman, EVJCC board chair; and board member Fred Wabnik attended the JCF’s annual Legacy Celebration on May 9 and received a $5,000 incentive grant for the EVJCC’s success in securing bequest gifts.

As of today, the EVJCC has 66 bequest gifts, according to Rabbi Beyo. “Although the incentive grant program has concluded, it is thanks to the Grinspoon Foundation and the JCF that we were able to achieve these gifts that will help ensure the EVJCC continues to serve future generations,” he said.

Life & Legacy’s focus is on securing end-of-lifetime commitments, primarily gifts from wills, trusts, insurance and retirement assets of donors. The program aims to boost an area of fundraising that is often overlooked.

With $40 trillion in wealth expected to be transferred by estates over the next 40 years, this is an area ripe for growth, according to a 2016 Jewish News article about the program. 

“A 2013 report on Jewish legacy giving (based on the National Study of Jewish Giving conducted by Jumpstart in partnership with a consortium of foundations and Jewish federations) found that while 74 percent of Jews said they have a will or other estate planning document, only 32 percent of them were planning a charitable bequest. More importantly, 66 percent of those who were planning a charitable bequest included a gift to a Jewish cause. That 66 percent translates to only about 8 percent of all the Jewish respondents with an estate plan.”

Anybody can make a legacy gift, regardless of age or financial circumstances, and the gift can be customized to fit an individual’s goals or needs.

To learn more about legacy giving, contact Rabbi Beyo at the EVJCC or JCF.