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Collapse news Our First Executive Director: Erika Rimson

(excerpt from New Mexico Jewish Link article by Naomi Sandweiss)

Theologian and writer Frederick Beuchner opined that "Vocation happens when our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need." For Erika Rimson, the first Executive Director of the Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico (JCF), it seems that her gladness and the community’s needs are a perfect match. Indeed, Rimson describes the position as her dream job. As Executive Director, Rimson brings both an intimate knowledge of the New Mexico Jewish community and a solid background in financial management.

Rimson envisions the Foundation as a vehicle for the future of Jewish New Mexico, a place for Jewish New Mexicans to express their values, build continuity and positively impact the future of the Jewish community. Rimson notes, "I'm excited about planning and investing today to help secure our community for future generations. And I look forward to working with the JCF board and individuals, families and organizations who wish to do the same."

Collapse news Apply Now for a 2015 $1,000 College Scholarship

Albuquerque-area high school seniors who have demonstrated achievements in human rights and human dignity and are enrolling in an accredited college or university this summer or fall are eligible to apply for the $1,000 Neil Isbin Scholarship. Deadline is May 1, 2015.

Download application details.

Collapse news Ingrid Ordoñez Receives Isbin Scholarship

Ingrid Ordoñez, a 2014 South Valley Academy graduate, is the 2014 recipient of the Neil Isbin Scholarship award. She received a $1,000 scholarship grant from the Neil Isbin Fund at the Foundation.

Herb and Kathie Isbin established the scholarship fund in memory of their son, Neil. Neil was a longtime human rights activist who worked tirelessly for equality and justice for all. The selection committee believes Ordonez’s volunteer work in the immigrant and broader community is impressive and consistent with Neil Isbin's values.

Congratulations Ingrid!

Collapse news Jewish Legacy Society Kicks off with $4.5 million in Planned Gift Commitments

On the evening of February 28th, more than fifty people gathered at Albuquerque's Hotel Andaluz to celebrate both the launch of the Jewish Legacy Society of New Mexico—an effort by the Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico (JCEF) to support a thriving, inspired and inspiring Jewish community in New Mexico and beyond—and the announcement of $4.5 million in planned gift commitments from three Jewish families with a profound history in leadership and giving.

During the event, the Jewish Legacy Society Chair, businessman and Jewish Community Center President Art Gardenswartz; real estate developer Gary Goodman; and community activist Miriam Efroymson pledged their families' support to the community via the Jewish Legacy Society.

According to JCEF Chair Erika Rimson, since the first wave of Jewish immigration to the New Mexico territory in the mid-19th century to the present, visionary families offered the philanthropic support and leadership to help take the Jewish community "from strength to strength."

"In the spirit of these families, the JCEF has launched the Jewish Legacy Society to guarantee that the Jewish causes and concerns important to Jewish Legacy Society members will be well-provided for, in perpetuity, whether they are located here in our community, across the United States, in Israel, or around the world," says Rimson.

In his remarks, Gardenswartz emphasized the benefits of the Jewish community, "speaking with one voice" by pooling financial assets in the Jewish Community Foundation. Noting that ten million dollars of endowed funds could "spin-off" about $500,000 per year, Gardenswartz expressed his confidence that these funds, "will ensure the survival of our Jewish community and is done so in a new format, not the annual campaign way."

"We are emphasizing planned endowed gifts providing for the future and that's good insurance for our community and the legacy of our New Mexico Pioneers," he said.

Efroymson, the Boston-born daughter of a Jewish educator and an Albuquerque resident for more than forty years, read a letter that her father-in-law, Robert Abraham Efroymson, a major leader in the Indianapolis Jewish community, sent in 1974 to his grandchildren, instructing them of leading lives committed to philanthropy.

"He knew the importance of educating his descendants on the value of giving," his daughter-in-law said proudly.

"I would like to see the institutions I have been involved in continue to flourish even after my passing," Efroymson announced. "Therefore, I am leaving a Jewish legacy via the JCEF. I have already created several endowed funds; one can do it while living, too. It is an especially good thing to do with a windfall."

"Set an example for your descendants and hopefully they will follow. May our memories be a blessing," she concluded.

Goodman, a Chicago native with projects in Albuquerque that include the Winrock Town Center as well as Hotel Andaluz, discussed the transformative impact his family, via The Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundations, has made in Jewish life both in Illinois and Israel, and the legacy of his grandparents, who survived extreme anti-Semitism in Europe before immigrating to the United States.

Expressing his appreciation of the New Mexico Jewish community, Goodman's announcement of his financial commitment via the Jewish Legacy Society was met with delighted applause.

To underscore the importance of l'dor v'dor, or generational involvement in Jewish and civic activism, Gardenswartz's daughter Rena Dulberg of Denver and Jenny Ramo, the granddaughter of late community leaders David and Martha Cooper, were asked to share how their bubbes and zeydes shaped their own commitment to philanthropy and service.

Ramo, the executive director of New Mexico Appleseed, laughingly described herself as a Kuchluffe—a pot stirrer—in proud emulation of her grandparents. Dulberg, the current founding co-chair of JNFuture Colorado—the young professionals division of Jewish National Fund (JNF) which supports environmental sustainability initiatives in Israel—gave credit to her grandparents, Shirley and Harold Gardenswartz, for serving as the role models for her community leadership.

Members of the Jewish Legacy Society agree to create an endowed fund at the JCEF with assets of at least $100,000. At minimum, 25% of the fund should benefit Jewish causes. How you fulfill your promise and what programs and organizations you support, is up to the donor. Says Rimson, "We are here to help you fulfill your philanthropic vision."

For more information about the Jewish Legacy Society contact Art Gardenswartz, Jewish Legacy Society Chair, or Erika Rimson at (505) 821-3214.

Jewish Legacy Society of New Mexico Flyer

Collapse news Yuki Shimano is the Neil Isbin Scholarship Winner
Yuki Shimano

Yuki Shimano, a 2013 Albuquerque Academy graduate, is the 2013 recipient of the Neil Isbin Scholarship award. She received a $1,000 scholarship grant from the Neil Isbin Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico.

Herb and Kathie Isbin established the scholarship fund in memory of their son, Neil. Neil was a longtime human rights activist who worked tirelessly for equality and justice for all. The selection committee believed Shimano's "cultural sensitivity, dedication, and desire to help people lead dignified lives regardless of the challenges they face are consistent with Neil Isbin's values."

Congratulations Yuki!

Collapse news Grant Made for Homemaker Services to Holocaust Survivors

The Jewish Women's Endowment Fund (JWEF), meeting at the home of Roberta Sparks on February 13, 2013, voted on a $1,800 distribution to the NM Holocaust & Intolerance Museum. The grant will fund homemaker services for elderly Jewish Holocaust survivors in Albuquerque.

The JWEF was created as a separate fund within the Jewish Community Foundation. Its purpose is to help Jewish women and families in need through annual distributions to social service agencies, Jewish organizations and religious institutions in the Albuquerque area. Members of the JWEF contribute $1,000 to have a voting seat in the organization. To become a member, contact Chairpersons Mimi Efroymson or Linda Friedman at the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, 505-348-4458.

Collapse news Powerful Partnership Helps Build Jewish Legacies
Andrea Pactor and others

Left to right: Jane Espinoza, Tracy Salkowitz, Erika Rimson, JCEF Chair, Lia Pierse, and members of Congregation B'nai Israel; Steve Margulin, Terry Lee Heller, Shelley Koeffler, Harvey Ruskin, and Harvy Buchalter, President

Volunteers and professionals from Albuquerque's Jewish community gathered with staff and lay leaders from the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona (Tucson) and JCEF New Mexico in early September for two-days of mentorship and brainstorming. The Tucson Foundation, originator of the Endowment Book of Life, provides JCEF NM with investment management, administrative and donor services support. "If there were one thing you could do to guarantee a better, more secure future for your family, your community and for Jews worldwide, would you do it?" asked Tucson's Executive Director Tracy Salkowitz. She and her staff, CFO Jane Espinoza and Director of Donor Services Lia Pierse shared their passion for and expertise in building and managing endowment assets for current and future community needs.

Congregation B'nai Israel, Congregation Albert, Solomon Schechter Day School, JCC, Jewish Family Service and Jewish Federation representatives learned how they could begin to cultivate endowments for their organizations. Ms. Pierse shared donor-centered ideas that helped the Tucson Jewish community more than double the number of legacy plans created in a year. Ms. Espinoza explained financial and investment best practices. Ms. Salkowitz stressed the importance of building trust and flexibility into the planned giving process.

Participants agreed that securing our community's Jewish future will take knowledge and commitment — and it begins with developing community awareness about the:

  • Power, Ease and Satisfaction of long-term giving through legacy planning
  • Necessity of helping secure the future of our Jewish community for generations to come — no one else will do it for us.

JCEF New Mexico looks forward to working with donors and organizations to build Jewish legacies.

Collapse news What it Means to Be Jewish, Female, and Philanthropic
Andrea Pactor and others

Left to right: Mimi Efroymson, JCEF Chair Erika Rimson, Andrea Levy, Andrea Pactor, Linda Friedman, Jennie Negin and Diane Chodorow

At the invitation of the Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico and the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, Andrea Pactor, Associate Director of the Women's Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University, met with Jewish women activists and United Way leaders on February 3rd and 4th at Albuquerque's Artichoke Café and at the home of JCEF Chair Erika Rimson and David Bernstein.

An expert on understanding women's philanthropy through research, education, and knowledge dissemination, Pactor discussed how women are key to philanthropy in the 21st century. Pactor defined philanthropy as “a love of humankind and voluntary action for the public good.”

Explaining how approaches to philanthropy differ between men and women, Pactor addressed how women are socialized differently than men around issues of giving. She noted that changing trends (including a dramatic increase of women in the workforce, and for the first time ever, more woman Ph.D.s than men), has led to women increasingly making the financial decisions for their household. Women are directing philanthropic behavior in the United States -- especially within the Jewish community.

In her presentation, Pactor asked, “What causes resonate most deeply with you? To what extent does your current philanthropy reflect those concerns?” “What legacy would you like to pass to the next generation or to be remembered by your community?”

“Think about the strengths that each of us bring as women in the community, and think about what you want your community to look like,” Pactor challenged her audience. “What mandates us to do this? As Jews, we are reminded constantly to uphold the cause of the fatherless, the widow and the stranger. The Women of Valor, from Proverbs, 'stretches her hand to the poor and reaches her hand to the needy.'

“We are powerful and we are even more powerful when we work collaboratively to solve problems,” said Pactor.

Collapse news Grants from Israel Experience Fund

Alexander and Jacob Ellis were recipients of a generous grant from the Jewish Federation's Israel Experience Fund held in the JCEF. Grants are made periodically to youngsters from New Mexico for educational travel or study in Israel.

The Ellis brothers were enrolled in the Eisendrath International Exchange program for four months in 2011. The boys took regular high school classes supplemented with Jewish history, Hebrew, and travel throughout the country. Each boy grew in understanding of and love for Israel. Jacob Ellis says, “My passion for Israel grew into a desire to Join the IDF"... the experience "helped me to learn about what I now want to be a part of.” His brother, Alexander, was thrilled to have made life-long friends saying, “The knowledge I have gained will never be lost, and nor will the desire to return.”

Collapse news Melvin and Paula Schwartz Endowment Fund Created

Mel and Paula Schwartz, residents of Albuquerque since 1991, signed the Endowment Book of Life at a community ceremony at the JCC in November, 2005. The Endowment Book of Life is a compilation of "Promises" by members of our community who are committed to leaving a legacy to future generations.

The Schwartzes are actively involved in the Albuquerque Jewish community and are generous with their time and their resources. It was important to Mel to formalize his "Promise" and take steps now to leave a legacy for the Jewish community. On January 31, 2011, the Schwartzes created the Melvin and Paula Schwartz Endowment Fund for Congregation Albert and the Melvin and Paula Schwartz Endowment Fund for Hillel at UNM held at the JCEFNM.

Both Hillel at UNM and Congregation Albert will benefit from the generosity and foresight of Paula and Mel Schwartz.

"We feel grateful to be able to create these funds to ensure the future of Albuquerque´s Jewish Community," said Paula. "To quote Hillel, `If I am not for others, what then am I? If not now, when?´"

Excerpt from Mel´s Book of Life Statement: Moving from Philadelphia, the "City of Brotherly Love," in 1991 to Albuquerque in the "Land of Enchantment" provided me with the opportunity to expand my horizons in Judaism as well as open new areas of interests in the Jewish Community... Here in Albuquerque, Paula and I were founders of the Hillel House on the campus of UNM, dedicated in the memory of Paula´s son Aaron, who was born in New Mexico. I have served on the Board of Congregation Albert, the JFGA Board, am an active member and Pillar of the JCC and a volunteer with the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau. I continue to look for opportunities to serve the Jewish Community both now and into the future.

Excerpt from Paula´s Book of Life Statement: I see myself as a strand in a long line of generations. I think back on my parents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and my grandparents in this country and before that in Hungary, Russia and Poland. I think of all the cousins and relatives who perished in Europe, whose photos I have looked at over the years....I think about all the organizations that played a role in my Jewish identity growing up: the Jewish Community Center (in Pittsburgh it was the YM&WHA), the summer camps, the youth groups, Montefiore Hospital, and the synagogue.... I see my grandchildren growing up strong and proud in their Jewish pre-schools, their summer camps, and their synagogue life. I watch as my children become active in the synagogue, the Federation, and the life of the Jewish Community, and I know that Mel and I have passed on to them the love, the commitment and the proud sense of joy in our Jewish tradition. That is the legacy I leave...