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 click here to apply or click here for more information.

Please feel free to 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.