Bundle Your Gifts, Supersize Your Deductions

By Robert on November 2, 2018 in Announcement, Uncategorized,

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed last December has afforded many of our generous donors with tax-wise giving opportunities including a new twist on a proven tactic: Bundling several years of intended contributions into a donor advised fund (DAF) allows you to supersize your income tax charitable deductions.

The new standard deduction is $12,000 for single taxpayers and $24,000 for married persons filing jointly. The new law also sets a $10,000 maximum for state and local real estate and income taxes. These limit many people to only the standard deduction – unless they bundle their charitable donations.

Consider this example for a donor who knows 2018 will be an especially high-income year. They have no mortgage (therefore no mortgage interest to deduct), property tax on their home is above that $10,000 maximum, and their medical expenses won’t be deductible as they will be under 7.5% of their adjusted gross income. They normally donate $30,000 each year to their DAF, so this year they could claim deductions totaling $40,000.

Because they know their income will exceed $400,000 this year, and because they are highly committed to granting from their DAF on a consistent basis to the charities of their choice, they decide to bundle three years of gifts and make them all in 2018. Their $90,000 donation to their DAF will grow tax free allowing them to make recommendations to various charities when they see fit over the next three years.

By bundling these contributions – plus the $10,000 state and local real estate and income maximum – their deduction will be $100,000 in 2018, and they plan to claim only the standard deduction in 2019 and 2020. Their total deduction over three tax years will be $148,000 instead of $120,000, a bonus of more than 20% that sharply cuts their income tax bill.

Everyone’s tax situation is different and now is a great time to talk to your trusted financial advisor before the end of the year rush.

To learn more about your charitable options and how to start a DAF or a legacy fund please contact me at robert@rjfoundation.org or call (804) 545-8656.

Register Now

By Robert on June 22, 2018 in Uncategorized,

A Primer: Bitcoin Currency & Blockchain Technology

Please join Richmond Jewish Foundation for a lunch and learn session with Glenmede’s Stephen Burns.

Thursday – August 2, 2018
12:00 – 1:00
Weinstein JCC

To reserve lunch and a seat please register.

Stephen Burns of Glenmede aided in the firm’s research into the rise of cryptocurrencies, and the importance of blockchain technology. Stephen will offer a primer on Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology, explaining the basics and its implications?

Who are the players?
What is the technology?
How has the space grown and evolved?
What are the implications?


Community Celebrates at Life & Legacy Event

By Robert on June 2, 2018 in Announcement,

On the evening of May 30, Richmond Jewish Foundation installed new directors and officers during its annual meeting, then hosted 175 community members at the Weinstein JCC for the 2nd annual Life & Legacy donor thank you celebration.

During the annual meeting, RJF Chairman Adam Plotkin welcomed and updated the board.  At the end of 2017, RJF was managing just under $40 million in assets. During the year, $3.7 million was donated to RJF from 171 donors and RJF granted out over $3.3 million to 176 different charities. Ninty-two percent of those dollars supported our local community and over two dozen new funds were created during the year.

Jim Weinberg, Nominating Committee chair, installed RJF’s new directors and officers. New officers include Frances Goldman (chair), GD Rothenberg (treasurer), Jeff Scharf (secretary) and Miriam Davidow (assistant secretary).  New directors in the Class of 2021 include: Beryl Ball, Josh Goldberg, Jessica Samet, Michael Pirron, Clare Sisisky and Wolf Joffe.

When asked why the RJF chairmanship was important to her, Goldman answered, “RJF is the bedrock of all charitable giving in Jewish Richmond and legacy giving is vital to the long-term health of Jewish Richmond. RJF represents the past, present and future of our community’s legacies for all generations. I’m excited about letting everyone in Richmond, Jewish and not, know about the benefits their donations can provide now and for posterity.”

Weinberg thanked the following directors who are rotating off the RJF board: Andy Brownstein, David Fratkin, Ruth Greene, Gail Moskowitz, Walter Rabhan and Jay Schwartz.

Members of the Nominating committee include chairman, Jim Weinberg, Frances Goldman, Adam Plotkin and Andy Brownstein.

Life & Legacy Celebration

The annual meeting was followed by the Life & Legacy Celebration that included a lively cocktail reception and awards program.

During the celebration, it was announced that over the last two years more than 320 donors created 444 legacies for a projected almost $17 million in future gifts for the Richmond Jewish community.

Frances Goldman presented the Anne and S. Sidney Meyers Endowment Achievement Award to Sue and Charles (OBM) Harowitz. The award is presented to community members who are outstanding contributors to the field of Jewish endowments.

The Anne and S. Sidney Meyers Endowment Achievement Award honors those who promote the growth of Richmond Jewish Foundation, give financially and exhibit the qualities of “leadership, vision, imagination and activity.”The Meyers believed that the award would encourage others to become involved and benefit the community.

Charles and Sue first began a relationship with RJF in 1999 by creating the Florine H. and Charles L. Harowitz Donor Advised Fund. This relationship continues today as Sue recently funded the Florine H. and Charles L. Harowitz Legacy Fund that was created prior to Charles’s passing in 2015.

At the event, the creation and funding of the Florine H. and Charles L. Harowitz Camp Hilbert Scholarship Fund also was announced.

Goldman then presented the Jack Paul Fine Mitzvah Society Award to Heritage Wealth Advisors for their commitment to building long-term and lasting relationships with many of Richmond Jewish Foundation’s most ardent supporters and donors and to help them with their charitable priorities.

The Jack Paul Fine Mitzvah Society Award honors local estate planning professionals committed to philanthropic giving and the future of the Jewish community and who have been instrumental in working with their clients to create lasting gifts to our community through RJF.

The evening’s festivities concluded with the presentation of a “Dear Donor” legacy thank you video and a presentation of incentive checks to the Life and Legacy partners for meeting or exceeding their goals for the year.

RJF to celebrate May 30

By Robert on April 27, 2018 in Uncategorized,

Beginning at 6:15, Wednesday, May 30, Richmond Jewish Foundation will celebrate and thank its many donors with a community-wide Life & Legacy celebration.

Jack Paul Fine Mitzvah Society Award

HWARJF will present the Jack Paul Fine Mitzvah Society Award to Heritage Wealth Advisors.

It is Heritage Wealth Advisors mission to help their clients achieve their personal financial goals and philanthropic purpose, which in many instances includes the desire to give back to Jewish organizations in the Richmond area.

Meyers Award
This year’s Anne and S. Sidney Meyers Endowment Achievement Award is being presented to Sue and Charles (OBM) Harowitz.

Charles and Sue first began a relationship with RJF in 1999 by creating the  Florine H. and Charles L. Harowitz  Donor Advised Fund. This relationship continues today as Sue recently funded the Florine H. and Charles L. Harowitz Legacy Fund that was created prior to Charles’s passing in 2015. The family’s fund supports local and national Jewish and secular organizations and Israel.

Please join Richmond Jewish Foundation’s board and staff at the Weinstein JCC Wednesday, May 30, at 6:15 p.m. to celebrate the second year of our community-wide Life & Legacy program including a thank you to our donors and a check presentation to our Life & Legacy partners.

To RSVP, please contact Lauren Plotkin at lauren@rjfoundation.org or call 545-8624.

The Amazing Charitable IRA Rollover Gift

By Robert on March 23, 2018 in Announcement, Uncategorized,

Image result for ira charitable rollover

If you are at least 701/2 years old, you can make a direct charitable gift to Richmond Jewish Foundation of up to $100,000 in a single year from your IRA account without having to pay federal tax on the withdrawal.

Your donation can fund your legacy or create an endowment to support the charities of your choice. This permanent tax provision was preserved in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017. Plus, such a gift will qualify for your “required minimum distribution” and you can repeat this gift of up to $100,000 every year.

Consider this example: Ms. Donor is widowed and 77 years old. She must take her required distribution from her IRA before December 31. In her case, she must withdraw close to 4 percent of the total value of her $1.2 million IRA, or more than $45,000. In the process, she must pay ordinary income tax on the amount.

Instead of making the withdrawal, she makes a distribution of $45,000 to Richmond Jewish Foundation through her IRA administrator. This amount is “rolled over” and is not subject to federal income tax and it satisfies her mandatory distribution.

Because the money goes directly to the endowment fund she created, there is no income tax charitable deduction. Had Ms. Donor taken the distribution directly instead and then given it to RJF, she could have claimed a charitable deduction, but the distribution would have been taxed. If she can use the entire deduction, it will offset the taxable distribution and the net effect will be the same as a direct rollover from her IRA to RJF. However, if she does not itemize, she may be worse off financially from the tax consequences.

Another option for Ms. Donor, if she feels that her IRA income will not be needed for the foreseeable future, is to use the maximum annual benefit of the Charitable IRA Rollover and transfer $100,000. This effectively advances more than two years of this type of gift and reduces the size of her IRA without paying federal tax.

This substantial gift will fund an endowment immediately allowing grants to be made annually to the charities designated in the endowment fund.

To learn more about IRA Rollover Gifts, please click here, contact your IRA administrator or reach out to RJF at (804) 545-8656.

Donor Advised Funds – The Perfect Giving Vehicle

By Robert on February 23, 2018 in Announcement, Uncategorized,

Like most nonprofits, RJF receives a lot of donations in December each year. This past December was different, though. The phone was ringing off the hook after The Tax Cut and Jobs Act became law resulting in many more donations than usual.

In 2017, $3.7 million was donated to RJF with one-third of that amount donated in December. Many of our generous donors poured money into their donor-advised funds (DAFs), which allows for immediate tax deductions but gradual distributions to nonprofits and synagogues. These charitable giving vehicles are easy to create and provide tremendous flexibility.

RJF currently manages 78 DAFs. Ten new DAFs were created in 2017 alone. DAF donors recommended donations of $1.8 million to charities here in Richmond, the U.S. and around the world. Over half of our 2017 grants came from recommendations from our DAF donors.

The aim of many of our donors in December was to donate before the end of the calendar year, when, for tax purposes, giving became less advantageous for many households. Beginning in 2018 the standard deduction will nearly double to $24,000 for a married couple and the state-and-local-tax deduction will be limited to $10,000. More donors will claim the standard deduction and fewer will get a direct benefit for their charitable contributions. According to the Tax Policy Center about 11 percent of households are projected to itemize deductions, down from 26 percent under prior law.

Donors now have more reason to concentrate giving in certain years.  DAFs can serve as a great charitable option to manage their generous philanthropy.

We work with a host of professional advisors, including certified public accountants, wealth advisors, and estate planning attorneys. Upon their advice, many donors decided to donate several years’ worth of donations in 2017, before the higher standard deduction and lower tax rates took effect. Such bunching of donations could now become a common charitable practice because donors would concentrate donations to exceed the standard deduction every other year or so.

Gail and Jim Plotkin created a DAF in 2017. They also set up other planned gifts for the community as part of the Life & Legacy program.

“We had identified several potential projects at certain schools, agencies, and Synagogues we were already supporting that would benefit from additional funding in 2018, and wondered how we might provide for their future needs as well. We explored several philanthropic institutions, but things did not come together until we called Robert Nomberg.”

Jim continued, “He was a good and patient listener and an astute and knowledgeable resource. He helped us design a DAF that accomplished our current objectives in a creative and tax-advantaged way, with flexibility to make future contributions to our DAF or to make other donations as needs emerge and circumstances permit. He had all the answers,” Jim said.

The economy’s continued improvement helped fuel the stock market’s rise in 2017 while boosting the desire to create DAFs for many donors. If you donate appreciated assets like stocks and mutual funds that have appreciated for over a year you receive the added benefit of avoiding the capital gains tax. Donors also receive a deduction against their income taxes for the full value of the assets.

To learn more about DAFs and other tax- advantaged ways of donating, please contact your professional advisor or call the RJF office.

From Generation to Generation

By Robert on January 26, 2018 in Announcement, Uncategorized,

Herbert J and Ruth Bonyhadi Rubel were pioneers of sorts. Coming to America as refugees from Nazi Germany, they each, separately, forged their way to a new land, a new language and a new culture. Yet they never forgot the past, painful as it may have been.

Herbert came to New York just before Kristallnacht in May 1938. Ruth, deported from Vienna, Austria, to the Lodz Ghetto, Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen. Ruth and her mother were liberated by the British Army from Bergen Belsen; her mother perished from typhus just two weeks later.

In 1946, Ruth came to America to be reunited with her only living relatives. After meeting in San Francisco while Herbert was in the Army, Herbert and Ruth married and raised three daughters. They retired to Richmond, Virginia, in 1991.

Upon Herbert’s death, Ruth, striving to provide a legacy to her husband of 43 years, created the Herbert J Rubel Holocaust Education Fund of Richmond Jewish Foundation to support outreach and training to educators and youth. With Ruth’s guidance, the fund provided training, bought educational modules and supported many trips to the United States Holocaust Museum.

In October 2001, Ruth died, leaving her daughters to continue the legacy that she began on behalf of her husband. Through the Herbert J and Ruth B. Rubel Holocaust Education Fund of RJF, their children take seriously the responsibility that has been bestowed upon them by their parent’s generosity, care, and concern for the community.

This legacy continues today with one of their daughters, and her family, here in Richmond. Miriam Rubel Davidow and her husband, Dan, recently created the Davidow Family Donor Advised Fund to support the charities of their choice. After their lifetimes, their children, Alisa and Jonathan, will become the advisors to the fund to continue another generation of giving.

Miriam stated, “We arrived in Richmond over 35 years ago knowing no one. We were welcomed by individuals, congregations and organizations and hence never felt like outsiders – even though we were not Richmonders!  Being a part of Richmond’s Jewish community provided us with a home that would support us through Jewish life and all forms of life-cycle events.  I hope others feel embraced and take advantage of being a part of the Mishpacha/family.”

Miriam added, “I had the privilege of supporting a number of people who led by example, the importance of planning for the future.  When my mother created the Herbert J Rubel Holocaust Education Fund at Richmond Jewish Foundation she saw the results of her philanthropy.”

Miriam continued, “She didn’t see herself as a philanthropist; rather she saw herself as someone who identified a need and tried to fill it. Another wise man, Alex Lebenstein (OBM), was insistent on supporting three of his favorite organizations and put his intentions in his will.  At his death, a Synagogue, a museum and an important school in his life were the beneficiaries of his insight.  These influential individuals in my life and many others helped confirm the need for my husband and me to leave a legacy for future generations. It is our honor, our pleasure and our responsibility to do so.  Planting the seed will take time, but it will grow and flourish with the proper tending.”


New Sisisky Fellows selected

By Robert on January 12, 2018 in Announcement,

Four years ago Susan and Mark Sisisky created the endowment known as the Susan and Mark Sisisky JDC Global Enrichment Fund. In a highly competitive process, carefully screened young adult Jewish leaders are chosen to travel with other Jewish leaders from other cities to learn the important work of the American Joint Distribution Committee around the world.

Each fellow has returned home to Richmond with a unique perspective inspired to do more. The Sisisky Fellows selection committee recently met to choose the 2018 fellows.  They are Elliot Warsof, Holly Moskowitz and Brian Strauss. These fellows will choose service experiences, including education events and programs and leadership development opportunities, and will return to Richmond to share their newfound knowledge and experiences with our community.

Elliot Warsof is from Virginia Beach and moved to Richmond in 2015. He is a  graduate of the University of Miami, where he received a bachelor’s in marketing and advertising. He is a real estate broker for   S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co., where he handles leasing and sales of commercial properties for third-party clients. He is a Jewish   Community Federation of Richmond board member, serves on the Enterprise Circle and   Network JCFR committees, and is a   graduate of the JCFR young leadership program – Community Leadership Institute.

He also is the advisor for the Richmond AZA Monarchs Chapter of the B’nai Brith Youth Organization. Elliot is the president of his Business Networking International chapter and is a member of the Urban Land Institute where he participates in the young leadership program. Elliot’s biggest passion lies in learning, be it through reading, traveling, or conversing and connecting with others. Although he is still new to the area, he has quickly immersed himself in the Richmond culture and community and looks forward to enjoying and assisting in its continued growth.

Holly Moskowitz is a board-certified women’s health nurse practitioner having graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing with a BSN and a MSN in 2012. She currently provides exceptional health care at VCU Health in the field of general gynecology and high-risk obstetrics.

Holly also graduated from the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership at Mary Baldwin College where she was Phi Beta Kappa and has degrees in philosophy and religion. She began her working career as a part of an organization that supported interfaith cooperation internationally through the sale of Fair Trade coffee.

She grew up in Richmond and attended the Rudlin Torah Academy.  Holly is on the Network JCFR committee, a member of the JCFR Pearl Society, a member of the Virginia Society of Nurse Practitioners and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses and a proud life member of Hadassah.

Brian Strauss joined Jewish Family Services in the spring of 2015, where he now serves as the human resources and operations supervisor. Since the fall of 2015,

Brian also has worked for Congregation Beth Ahabah as its youth and teen engagement specialist. As of this August, he started working for the University of Richmond as its interim Jewish Life advisor.

Brian graduated from the University of Richmond in 2014 and is a student at Villanova University pursuing a master’s in public administration. When he is not studying or working, Brian can be found eating at new restaurants, hanging with his friends and attending Network JCFR events.

The Sisisky Fellows Committee is chaired by Clare Sisisky and includes committee members Michal Coffey, Adam Beifield, Zach Sisisky and Shoshanna Schechter.

Marilyn and Bob Flax Create Impactful Fund

By Robert on November 20, 2017 in Announcement,

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.

RJF – Quiet by Design

By Robert on July 28, 2017 in Announcement, Uncategorized,

Richmond Jewish Foundation might possibly be the leanest and least exciting Jewish organization in town. But guess what? We’re proud of that.

We don’t operate a state-of-the-art health and wellness facility like the Weinstein JCC. We don’t provide a warm, inviting sanctuary like any of the synagogues. Nor do we offer high-quality Jewish education like RTA.

In fact, our entire office contents and workspace could probably fit in your living room, and you can count the number of vendors we work with on one hand.

But to us, being thrifty and unexciting is a good thing. It just means we can focus more on what we do best—supporting the community with financial resources, thanks to decades of generous donors. As a result, our funding and investing processes are tried and true.

For example, our quarterly grants cycles have been in place for a decade enabling community organizations to apply for financial awards primarily for new and innovative programming. During the 2017 fiscal year, RJF provided approximately $3.8 million to organizations that serve our local Jewish and secular community out of a total of $4 million distributed during the year.

Our grants procedure is rather plain and simple, but effective: Organizations complete an application and submit it to our grants committee. A volunteer grants committee, chaired by Ruth Greene, reviews the applications and determines how much funding, if any, to provide to each grant request. The RJF Board of Directors reviews the awards and twice a month we send checks to the deserving organizations.

Exciting process? No, but the results are inspiring, as we award tens of thousands of dollars each cycle. We also work closely with donors who often like to personally fund some of the grants. These donors helped provide an additional $50,000 in grants this past cycle.

At this point, perhaps you are wondering—where does money for our grants cycle come from? The funds come from three buckets: the RJF Genesis Fund, endowments created by donors over the past 36 years or from donor advised funds.

Meanwhile, our investments committee, chaired by Roger Leibowitz, provides oversight on how our over $35 million created from 250 funds are invested. This fiduciary oversight is in place to help ensure that our foundation can continue to grow and award grants for the next generation of Jewish Richmond.

This is all pretty tedious stuff to most people, indeed, but we are grateful for our donors’ generosity and our committee members’ contributions to help us fulfill our mission of supporting the community.

If you are interested in establishing a fund with RJF please contact us today. We are happy to show you how exciting the act of helping the community can really be.

Making Philanthropy Affordable with a Donor Advised Fund

By Robert on June 21, 2011 in Announcement,

The RJF board recently changed the Donor Advised Fund (DAF) policy to make philanthropy more affordable. The minimum amount to start a DAF is now $5,000 and the minimum that must be maintained in the fund is now $2,500 (new minimum applies to existing DAFs, as well).

A donor advised fund offers the opportunity to create an easy-to-establish, low cost, flexible vehicle for charitable giving as an alternative to direct giving or creating a private foundation. Donors enjoy administrative convenience, cost savings, and tax advantages by conducting their grantmaking through the fund. Donors can use their funds to recommend grants to all non-profit charities including local agencies, synagogues and the Federation. You can start your fund with cash or appreciated stock and take three years to fund to the $5,000 minimum level.

There is a one-time $100 set-up fee. The fund will be charged an annual fee of 1% of the fund’s balance with a minimum annual fee of $250.

If you are interested in starting a donor advised fund with Richmond Jewish Foundation please call the RJF office at 545-8656 or email Robert Nomberg if you have any questions about donor advised funds or if you are having problems accessing the online DAF application.