BY JULIE DIAMOND
Oregon Jewish Community Foundation held its Annual Meeting via Zoom on June 4. About 60 community members participated, less than typically attend. The Annual Legacy Celebration was postponed due to the coronavirus and that may have affected attendance.
Here are some highlights of the meeting, which I led with Board Chair Josh Frankel:
During the period July 1, 2019, to May 31, 2020, the foundation distributed 1,395 total grants. These grants represented $7.7 million in charitable dollars that reached 390 nonprofits.
The Foundation’s total assets under management (AUM) as of June 3, 2020, were $90.4 million, flat compared to last year at the same time, but with recent swings to as low as $75 million. With the market volatility due to COVID-19, the Investment Committee has been meeting more often to intensify their oversight of the Foundation investments.
OJCF’s donor fund advisors responded quickly to the onset of COVID-19, with $425,210 in grants for Emergency Relief needs during March, April and May. Of that, $298,980 was directed to the Greater Jewish Portland Together COVID-19 Relief Fund, a joint project of the Jewish Federation and OJCF.
OJCF celebrated the Oregon Jewish Community Youth Foundation’s successful completion of their year, in spite of COVID. Although OJCYF’s Annual Benefit Dinner, usually held in April, was canceled, thanks to the generosity of many sponsors, the teens made community grants of $66,000. The teens shared their grant decisions in a lively “Pass the Grant Check” video.
The update on LIFE & LEGACY included a welcome to nine new partner organizations that applied for and have been accepted to a second group of organizations to embark on the LIFE & LEGACY program for the development of after-lifetime gifts. They will be able to earn incentive grants for their success funded by the OJCF Community Endowment Fund. Although the program launch was delayed by the coronavirus, it will begin in the fall with remote learning strategies. Also, our colleague Arlene Schiff, National LIFE & LEGACY director at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, shared via video that the national Legacy program has reached the milestone of $1 billion in legacy commitments to Jewish organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Oregon and SW Washington are part of this success!
Josh led a celebratory moment for OJCF Program Officer Sonia Marie Leikam, who received the Laurie Rogoway Outstanding Jewish Professional Award sponsored by the Jewish Federation. Leikam handles OJCYF, Young Adult Giving Council and other donor education and outreach responsibilities.
As always, “members” voted on the slate of board of trustee nominees. Newly elected trustees are Jason Kaufman, Steve Kaufman (not related) and Sue Menashe. Trustees elected for another three-year term are Kathy Chusid, Naomi Derner, David Forman and Emily Kahn. In addition, Simon Gottheiner will join as the appointed trustee representing the Jewish Federation.
Josh and I thanked those concluding service on the board: Stan Geffen, Marni Glick, Lauren Goldstein, Steve Gradow, Steve Laveson, Eric Rosenfeld and Mike Tannenbaum.
The OJCF professional team has been working remotely since mid-March. Operations have continued relatively smoothly, with the occasional lost piece of mail. Several Foundation events have been postponed or cancelled and other programs are being reimagined for online experiences. The Foundation board and professional team have juggled a lot of new technology over these past months and, indeed, Zoom fatigue has set in.
I am especially grateful for the work of board chair Josh Frankel and all the board leaders. They, along with the professional team, are providing strong leadership in these turbulent times.
Julie Diamond is President and CEO of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation.