The Secret is Out
Approximately 200 people gathered at the JCC on Thursday night, January 25 for the 2017-18 Annual Meeting of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation and enjoyed a lavish dessert reception prepared by A Taste of the World Catering.
“It used to be a joke,” said Foundation Chair Rusty Cooper, “that the DJCF was the community’s best-kept secret; well no more. The secret is out! The DJCF is one of the fastest growing independent Jewish Foundations in the United States.”
And, as Cooper soon made clear, the DJCF is leading beyond the Jewish community.
“I’m sure you’ve seen these cigars in front of you,” Rusty Cooper said, indicating pastel bubblegum cigars on the tables, just like those given as birth announcements.
“We had two babies born this year, two new Foundations working as DBAs of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation. To better serve our ever-expanding pool of professional advisors and nonprofit organizations we have created the Southwest Community Foundation and the Southwest Jewish Community Foundation. Both have already begun to grow and reach out to new markets.”
Rusty Cooper presented two Chairman’s Awards for outstanding service to the Foundation and to the Chair. The first went to Stuart Prescott:
“Stuart has been the Chair of Create a Jewish Legacy, our Board Development Committee, the Baer Committee and an officer of this Foundation. Most importantly he loves the DJCF more than anyone I know. Stuart - thank you for all that you do for us and many other organizations you have served and will continue to serve. The second award goes to a man, and treasured friend, who has taught me, led me by example, and helped shape the values and beliefs I hold dear - and that is Rabbi Stefan Weinberg.”
Guest speaker Benjamin Kelly, a partner at Husch Blackwell and one of the nation’s leading experts in estates and trusts, was eloquent in his remarks about the importance of transmuting values within a family so when it comes time to plan giving, children will not only understand their parents’ wishes, they will genuinely wish to honor the legacies established by their elders. This conscious sharing of values, Kelly demonstrated through several examples from his practice, does more than a world of charitable good. Understanding why their families give, how they give, and their family’s wealth origin story is what has proven to strengthen and build family wealth from generation to generation.
The highlight of the DJCF’s Annual Meeting was unquestionably the award presentation of nine Sylvan T. Baer Grants to local nonprofit organizations, two of which received 100% of their grant requests. DJCF President Meyer Bodoff preceded the ceremony by sharing with attendees that Foundation-managed legacy gifts - monies left to charity in wills, estates, insurance policies, etc (as Sylvan Baer left his legacy in the 1970s) - have surpassed $270 million. Bodoff also shared that this year, the Foundation has the potential to award more than 50 higher education scholarships.
“For the first time in our history,” said Bodoff, “We have 38 nonprofit organizations calling our Foundation their financial home. These are great statistics, but like all numbers they only tell part of the story. The real story exists behind the numbers, within the organizations and the people we aid and support.”
Over the past two years the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation has granted more than $30 million dollars to a wide range of nonprofit organizations. Dallas synagogues received more than $4,000,000; $7,500,000 was awarded in the form of Education grants, including major donations to our Dallas Day Schools. The DJCF disbursed $5,800,000 to Jewish Federation and more than $5,000,000 to Cultural Arts organizations. 25 agencies each received more than $100,000 in grants during 2017 and, Rusty Cooper pointed out, all of this was accomplished with a very small staff and an incredibly low administrative overhead of 7-8% of expenses to the amount the Foundation granted, an operation budget amongst the lowest in the nonprofit sector.