Marilyn and Bob Flax Create Impactful Fund
I love when a random phone call leads to a significant gift for both the donor and the community. They don’t happen all the time, but when they do, they can be transformative for everyone.
This past May we finalized the details for our first ever Life & Legacy celebration. The event was different from other seminars, meetings and gatherings that we handle throughout the year, so we were busy making sure everything was planned including a new video to thank some of our many new Life & Legacy donors.
Lauren Plotkin, Life & Legacy program director, was managing the event. She received a call from Marilyn and Bob Flax explaining that they were familiar with Life & Legacy, but had yet to create a legacy for the community. They called to see if they could attend the celebration to learn more about Life & Legacy. This one phone call led to several conversations that culminated in
one of the most impactful funds ever created at RJF.
In describing their decades-long connection to our Jewish community, Marilyn explained, “We both were born here in Richmond and have always been part of the fabric of Jewish life here. Bob’s mother led Brownies at Beth-El and KBI for 30 years, and my mother took over for her when Bob’s mother got sick. My mother was very active at Beth-El during World War II, and my father was born in Richmond 105 year ago. Bob’s father was just as involved serving on the board at RTA.”
Marilyn continued, “We got married late in life, and have no children so it’s our pleasure to give to all the entities that bring us joy. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that this endowment fund will help sustain those organizations that have given us immense happiness. We enjoy the arts, and work all the time but find a balance between enjoying performances and then often will come back to work. It is very gratifying to know that what we’re doing is helping to sustain these organizations that we love.”
Marilyn and Bob feel they have benefited greatly from being involved in Richmond’s Jewish community and this feeling is part of the fabric of their spiritual and moral values. They’ve chosen to be members of both Beth Ahabah and Beth El, not only for the spiritual connection, but they also enjoy the social and intellectual benefits of being members of both congregations.
Marilyn described why creating their fund was important to them, “We want the values that were important to our families and are important to us to continue after we’re no longer here. We’ve included all the organizations that are important to us and give us happiness. So this way we’ll continue to give back after we’re no longer here”.
Marilyn continued to explain, “Creating the fund was such a pleasant experience and easy to set- up. We talked about setting up an endowment for a while and when it all took shape it was amazingly easy. The endowment became everything we wanted, and easily created a way for us to give back. At first, we were not sure how to do this, but after the Life & Legacy celebration we called Robert at the Foundation and he took it from there. We hope by doing this we’ve inspired others.”
RJF chairman Adam Plotkin said, “The Foundation and community are eternally grateful to Marilyn and Bob for the legacy they’ve created. Their fund will one day represent one of the largest gifts a family has made to RJF to benefit our community and we look forward to helping the fund grow to support our community, and the Flax’s legacy, forever.”
Creating an endowment or legacy fund is a simple process. A donor needs to complete two fairly simple steps. After you decide which charities to support, the first step is to sign a fund agreement stating that you want annual grants to go to the organizations. The second step is to instruct your financial advisor or attorney to ensure there is money from your estate, life insurance policy or retirement account that will go to the fund, typically after your lifetime. Money does not actually exchange hands until after your lifetime or earlier if there is a tax-advantaged reason to do so during your lifetime like rolling over your IRA.