Debra Steinbuch — How You Help
Share Your Story, Sustain Your Community: Create Your Jewish Legacy Continues to Grow in Cincinnati
“The Create Your Jewish Legacy program has allowed us to bridge the gap between our dreams and our reality at Temple Sholom—it has truly helped us secure our future,” said Carol Shore. Shore, along with Bob Ziek, are co-team leads for the Create Your Jewish Legacy (CYJL) program at Temple Sholom—one of 25 CYJL partner organizations in Cincinnati.
The CYJL initiative, which began in Cincinnati in 2014, helps support and train 25 local Jewish agencies, congregations, and day schools in the area of legacy giving. It also supports the Federation’s mission of bringing together diverse groups to build and sustain a Jewish community, while developing and connecting leaders, contributors, organizations, and ideas to help people in need, support Israel, and assure a vibrant Jewish future. The ultimate goal is to build endowments to help sustain these organizations and ensure a vibrant future in our Jewish community. Funding for CYJL came in part from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) Life and Legacy™ program, along with funding from The Jewish Foundation and the Jewish Federation.
“CYJL has made such a huge difference to Temple Sholom,” explained Shore. “It has increased engagement, taught us how to have conversations with our fellow congregants, and encouraged us to discuss our values and create a foundation for future plans.”
This summer, during its annual Sustainers Event, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati celebrated its more than 1500 community members who have chosen to leave a legacy gift. A symbolic check of $170 million was presented to the CYJL team leads, representing the total value of all estimated legacy commitments secured to date—including the nearly $14 million realized gifts to date.
“This $170 million doesn’t just speak to the amazing work our 25 partner organizations have contributed,” said Joshua Rosen, the Federation’s Create Your Jewish Legacy Development Officer. “Nor is it simply a testament to how much we all care of the vitality and longevity of Jewish Cincinnati—it is a testament to what can happen when there are funds, infrastructure and organization behind a driven community of professionals, lay leaders and donors alike. After all, this $170 million was $0 January 1, 2014.”
Cincinnati was the first community to reach a thousand legacy commitments and, during the pandemic, secured 40 more legacy commitments than any other community. “These commitments are a true testament to the desire to keep our community strong for future generations,” said Rosen.
Despite everything that has been accomplished in the last eight years, there is still more to do. “Unfortunately,” said Rosen, “there is a common misconception that legacy giving is ‘not for me,’ or that you have to be ultra-wealthy. But that’s simply not true, and the best way we have to disprove that notion is for people who have created a legacy gift to share their stories of why they did it.”Natalie Wolf is a legacy donor to Adath Israel Congregation, Rockwern Academy, and the Mayerson JCC, and has been involved with the CYJL program since day one. When asked about why she and her husband Scott initially made a legacy commitment, her first thought was, “why wouldn’t we? We asked ourselves which organizations were the most impactful in our lives and how can we thank those organizations beyond what we’re able to give now. The legacy commitment not only accomplishes that, but it’s so easy too! Everyone can do it, and if the Jewish community had an impact on you and your family’s lives, then you should do it.”
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