We care about you, your family and all who are impacted by the pandemic. The Jewish community is mobilized and doing our best to work remotely to support and care for each other. Whether you seek help or are in a position to help others through donations, please contact us.
News & Events
In February, we awarded grants from our Immigrant & Refugee Assistance Fund totaling $16,000 to five nonprofit agencies in Albuquerque: NM Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice for volunteer training to support families and individuals who are seeking asylum; EL CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos for workers' rights workshops and advocacy; NM Asian Family Center for 2020 census workshops and outreach; La Plaza De Encuentro for an ESL Citizenship course; and New Mexico Immigrant Law Center for coordination of volunteers and pro-bono attorneys.
Dr. Yael Aronoff spoke to UNM international studies students and community members in early March about the recent Israeli election, "Third Time's a Charm?" Her second lecture focused on a two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The spring lectures were presented by the UNM International Studies Institute with support from a JCF grant.
As much as we love celebrating our community's legacy donors, it's important that we all stay healthy! Given the current situation and Governor Lujan Grisham's recent public health emergency declaration, we are canceling our LIFE & LEGACY Celebration lunch at the Albuquerque Museum on Sunday, March 29. We look forward to celebrating with you at a later date. If you have any questions, contact our Executive Director.
Legacy donors and those considering become one gathered on 1/28/20 at the JCC for a FREE lunch (there is such a thing)! Attendees learned what it really means to "be remembered forever in the Jewish community with a gift in your will, trust, retirement account or life insurance policy." Colorful and humorous descriptions demonstrated how donors can create their Jewish legacy, and participants received a helpful Legacy "To-Do" List.
Join Us January 28, 2020 at Noon at the JCC
You'll be remembered forever in the Jewish community with a gift in your will, trust, retirement account or life insurance policy. What does that really mean and how do you make it happen? Join us for a FREE lunch (there is such a thing), laughter and learning. RSVP
The Neil Isbin Scholarship Fund was created in memory of Neil - a longtime human rights activist who worked tirelessly for equality and justice. Recipients are committed to helping others lead dignified lives regardless of the challenges faced. Each of the 2019 recipients received a $1,000 college scholarship.
Vera Berger was as a core organizer of Albuquerque's "March for Our Lives" — a gathering of 9,000 people in support of gun safety. After the march, she and others created the group "Fight for Our Lives," to turn promises & demands into action. Vera learned about human rights on an international level through her participation in and leadership of Model UN. She also made time to provide weekly tutoring to refugees her junior year and participate as a member of the Mayor's Youth Advisory Council her senior year. Vera is attending Pomona College.
Sophie Carroll focuses her energy on improving communication as a means to better problem solving and conflict resolution. Sophie's leadership and transformation of her school's Feminism Club and involvement in "Women to Be," an international nonprofit providing feminine hygiene products for girls who otherwise could not attend school, are examples of how Sophie has helped empower others. She volunteered to promote art as a communication tool in a variety of projects including with Navajo children, a Mexican indigenous group & recently-settled refugee children in Albuquerque. Sophie is attending Duke University.
Ronja Steinbach grew up bilingual and approaches communication as a way to build human understanding. Ronja's involvement with Assistance Dogs of the West (ADW) launched her love for community service. Her work with ADW led to volunteer work with an occupational therapist training therapy dogs and as a junior counselor at a therapy summer camp. Through her experiences, she learned to respect differences among us, but realized that stigma still surrounds disabilities. That realization spurred Ronja's activism in support of human rights and dignity. She was involved in her school's community service club and embraced the diversity of her school's student body by learning new customs, traditions & perspectives from her classmates. Ronja is attending University of Hawaii.
Dr. Joyce Antler of Brandeis University presented September's lecture in Contemporary Jewish Studies "Jewish Feminism and Women's Liberation: Perspectives from 50 Years of Activism" in the SUB on UNM's campus. Dr. Antler is a social and cultural historian with special interests in the history of American women, history-as-theater, the history of education, and women's biography. She has written widely about the history of women and about Jewish women.
The Foundation recognized and thanked our "first wave" of mensches in the Albuquerque & Santa Fe Jewish communities who've committed to make (or already made) a legacy endowment gift via our LIFE & LEGACY program. We just completed the first year of the LIFE & LEGACY program and are pleased to report:
- 150 donors committed to make a legacy (endowment) gift to one or more local Jewish organizations.
- Endowment commitments reflect an estimated total value of over $2M with more than $100K realized-to-date.
Over 100 people enjoyed festivities at the Albuquerque Museum on March 31, featuring a delicious lunch, music by the Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band, slushy Israeli lemonade made-to-order by BBYO students and a presentation by Albuquerque Museum Curator of Art Dr. Josie Lopez. Thirty-five guests celebrated in Santa Fe at Turner Carroll Gallery on April 7 with a "Chai Tea" and special exhibit overview by Gallery Co-Director Shastyn Blomquist.
Through individual and collective generosity, we are helping build endowments and a future for the organizations/programs near & dear to donors' hearts and for our Jewish community as a whole. Each of the nine participating organizations, through conversations with their donors & supporters, secured at least 18 legacy commitments and will receive a $5,000 incentive grant for their efforts.
Dr. David Engel, Professor of History and Professor and Chair of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University presented two intriguing lectures at UNM on March 25th and 26th. Poles, Jews, and History addressed 100 years of Polish-Jewish relations. Thinking about Antisemitism provided food for thought regarding how one uses the term antisemitism. Dr. Engel challenged his audience to be more nuanced in assigning the labels antisemite or antisemitism to people or events. Citing specific examples, he demonstrated that people can display animosity toward Jews while also acting honorably, even heroically, toward Jews. We should recognize that human behavior is more often grey rather than black or white.
The free UNM lecture Series in Contemporary Jewish Studies is sponsored by the UNM International Studies Institute and is supported by a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico.
Michael McGuire, Staff Attorney at the Senior Citizens' Law Office offered insights into how to spot, avoid and, if lucky, extricate oneself from some of the scams and cons that are rampant today. McGuire's engaging presentation highlighted "Why Scams Work" (scammers focus on building trust and appealing to emotions); "Protecting Yourself" (be skeptical — especially online); and "What to Do If It Happens to You" (act fast, be calm, file complaints). The February breakfast seminar at the JCC was hosted by the LIFE & LEGACY program.
If you would like a copy of the presentation, contact Erika Rimson, 505.348.4472 or [email protected].
* How to Spot Them, Avoid Them & (Sometimes Fix Them): Tips to help Cover Your Assets so you can enjoy retirement and donate to your favorite charitable endowments.
Thanks to donor support, the Foundation replenished the fund created in 2017 to respond to concerns about the welfare and safety of immigrants and refugees in Albuquerque and New Mexico. The Foundation awarded its second round of grants totaling $16,000, to be used in 2019, to four nonprofit agencies assisting immigrants and refugees in Albuquerque.
Grants were made to: NM Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice for their Direct Service Program supporting families and individuals who are seeking asylum; EL CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos to support the ABQ Immigrants' Rights Network; La Plaza De Encuentro, for adult education and career development for Latino immigrant parents and workers; and New Mexico Immigrant Law Center for its volunteer program in legal advocacy and education.
The Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico continues to accept donations to the Immigrant and Refugee Assistance Fund and hopes to provide additional grants in 2020. If you would like to donate to the fund, contact Erika Rimson, 505.348.4472 or [email protected]. Or click on the "Donate Now" link on top of the home page.
A near capacity audience of UNM International Studies undergraduates and community members gathered on November 8th for Professor Ilan Troen's lecture, Israel at 70. Troen is the founding director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. In order to put Israel at 70 in perspective, Troen reminded his audience that the United States at 70 was on the brink of a civil war, and that the Soviet Union at 70 was near collapse. Yet Israel at 70, although facing challenging issues domestically and with its neighbors, is strong.
Professor Troen also presented an afternoon lecture, discussing both religious and secular claims to the Holy Land. The free UNM lecture Series in Contemporary Jewish Studies is sponsored by the UNM International Studies Institute and is supported by a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico.
Rebeccah Peshlakai received a scholarship from the Israel Experience Fund to help offset the costs of her Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company 2018 Summer Intensive Dance Program. The program is hosted by Kibbutz Ga'aton, east of Nahariya. An accomplished dancer, Rebecca is a recent graduate of NM School for the Arts in Santa Fe. "Having this opportunity, the way I look at my culture and connect it to my dancing has completely shifted. Whenever I am creating now and begin to feel lost inside myself, I take inspiration from my experiences in Israel..." reflected Rebeccah. (Insert photo with footer: Rebeccah Peshlakai, Haifa, Israel)
Legacy teams representing 9 organizations in Albuquerque & Santa Fe are off to a strong start! Awareness about the value of building resources for our community's future is growing. Our Year 1 goal: Each team secures 18 commitments for after-lifetime endowment gifts to support its organization.
Several organizations have hosted informational legacy get-togethers. Three new organization endowment funds were launched so far this year. The Foundation created the LIFE & LEGACY™ New Mexico Opportunity Fund, the first endowment fund to help meet community-wide emerging needs.
How can you help assure Jewish tomorrows in New Mexico? Join the conversation!
Perhaps it’s the spice of green chile matzah ball soup. Or the calm and beauty of celebrating Shabbat or Rosh Hashana in the mountains. Maybe it’s the joy and energy of dancing to klezmer music. Or the satisfaction of working together with fellow congregants to make & host meals for those in need. The Jewish experience here in New Mexico is enriching and diverse. At the core, there are the shared values of community and social justice — not only for today, but for generations to come; assuring Jewish tomorrows.
The Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico is dedicated to securing the future of Jewish New Mexico through the LIFE & LEGACY™ initiative in partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. The innovative four-year program, presented in collaboration with the Jewish Federation of New Mexico (JFNM), provides participating Jewish organizations with training, mentorship, marketing and incentive grants to support legacy endowment gift development.
Mazel Tov to the eight organizations, in addition to the Foundation and JFNM, that were selected to join LIFE & LEGACY New Mexico: Congregation Albert, Congregation B’nai Israel, Congregation Nahalat Shalom, HaMakom (Santa Fe), Jewish Care Program, JCC of Greater Albuquerque, New Mexico Jewish Historical Society and Temple Beth Shalom (Santa Fe). Each formed a legacy team that will work together as our community learns about and cultivates resources for the future.
"LIFE & LEGACY is a fantastic way to bring our community together, build resources for the future of Jewish New Mexico — and have some fun along the way," shared Mimi Efroymson, member of the JCC legacy team.
JCF was selected to participate in the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s LIFE & LEGACY program as one of only 52 Jewish communities from across North America.
“The Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) is excited to partner with the Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico to establish a culture of legacy giving in New Mexico,” said Arlene D. Schiff, National Director of the LIFE & LEGACY program
LIFE & LEGACY is a 4-year program that assists communities, through partnerships with Jewish Foundations and Federations, to promote after-lifetime giving to benefit local synagogues, social service organizations and other Jewish entities. The Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico will be collaborating with the Jewish Federation of New Mexico to offer this exciting program.
LIFE & LEGACY is the newest initiative of HGF, based in western Massachusetts, which is investing $30 million dollars over a ten year period to engage communities across the country in legacy building efforts that will secure the future of vibrant Jewish communities. Stay tuned to learn more in 2018.
Create or build upon a family tradition of charitable giving. Open a donor advised family charitable fund.
- Partner with your children and/or grandchildren
- "Gift" a fund to your children and/or grandchildren
For a limited time only: Access an additional $1,000 in incentive funding. Click here to learn more.
DONATE to support family stability, economic security and health & safety of immigrants and refugees in New Mexico and your donation will be DOUBLED. A generous donor pledged to match all gifts, up to a total of $5,000, made to this fund. This new fund will provide grants to NM charitable organizations working on behalf of immigrants and refugees.
How to Contribute:
- Click here to donate securely online via our partner, the Jewish Community Foundation of So. Arizona, and directing your gift to JCFNM — Immigrant & Refugee Assistance Fund.
- Send or drop off a check to JCFNM (memo: Immigrant & Refugee Assistance) to address below.
- Make grant recommendation via your Donor Advised Fund
The fund's launch followed publication of the "Statement by New Mexico Jewish Communal Organizations and Clergy in Support of Refugees and Immigrants" signed by 19 Jewish organizations and 17 clergy members. Read the statement.
Contact our Executive Director to learn about applying for grants from this fund.
Donor-directed and competitive grants targeted a variety of areas including enhancing Jewish life, education, healthcare, human services and the arts. The Foundation distributed $415,000 to charities in New Mexico and across the country during 2017.
Vanderbilt University Associate Professor Julia Phillips Cohen presented a fascinating lecture on March 22 probing the evolution of Sephardi Jews' ties to Spain in the centuries following their expulsion. The well-attended talk incorporated the current debates around the Spanish government's 2015 legislation granting citizenship to the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. The lecture was hosted by the University of New Mexico's International Studies Institute and was supported, in part, by a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico.
At the Jewish community's June annual meeting, two students from Albuquerque area high schools received the Neil Isbin Scholarship, a $1,000 scholarship toward college tuition. The scholarship was established in memory of Neil Isbin, a lifelong human rights activist. It is awarded annually to students who have demonstrated achievements or ongoing volunteer work supporting human rights and human dignity.
Clarizza Morales Chacon graduated from Atrisco Heritage Academy and will be attending UNM in the fall. Clarizza is committed to helping others in need and recognizes the importance and satisfaction of community engagement. Her life experience drives her interest in helping others, and Clarizza plans to pursue a career as a dentist.
Natalie Chambers is a Nex+ Gen Academy graduate who will be attending UNM in the fall. Benefiting from the help of caring volunteers when facing life challenges, Natalie became an active volunteer at her school and in the broader community. Natalie wants to become a psychologist so she can help people "live life to the fullest."
We wish Clarizza and Natalie all the best in college.
The fall 2017 lecture, Ossuaries and the Burials of Jesus and James, was presented by Professor Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism, UNC Chapel Hill. Professor Magness, a VP of the Archaeological Institute of America and archaeologist for the National Geographic IMAX 3D movie, Jerusalem, engaged the audience with a fascinating, fast-paced presentation. The free lecture was hosted by UNM's International Studies Institute and was supported in part by a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico.
FREE Charitable Planning Seminar - June 11, 2017
Join us for refreshments and practical answers to a common question: How can I provide for both family and charity? 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM, JCC, 5520 Wyoming Blvd. NE, 87109
This informal seminar will expand your understanding of the intersection of smart estate planning and charitable giving. Using real-life examples drawn from years of planning experience, the speakers will discuss the efficient use of assets, including appreciated securities, IRAs, life insurance and appreciated real estate. Throughout, the focus will be on how you can control the future use of your charitable gift, using flexible planning techniques to meet your unique goals.
Featuring speakers Grace Allison and Judith Zabel, attorneys and Foundation board members.
Contact our Executive Director [email protected] for more information or to RSVP.
At the end of March, over 125 guests enjoyed lunch, good company and intriguing speakers at our annual Jewish legacy event at the Albuquerque Museum. In conjunction with the Jews of Albuquerque in the 20th Century exhibit, we discovered the impact Jewish people have had on Albuquerque's growth. Guided by our witty MC, Ron Segel, guests learned how the Foundation and donors help improve New Mexico — and the world, and how we can continue to do so with after-lifetime gifts. Charitable planning is key!
This scholarship was established to help a young New Mexican (age 18-25) attend the annual J Street Conference in Washington, DC, from February 25-28, 2017, as a member of WRAP (Water Resources Action Project, Inc). Application must be received by January 30, 2017. Click here for more information.
Speaking to more than two hundred UNM students, faculty, and Albuquerque community members in UNM's Keller Hall on February 6th, Professor Reuven Firestone of Hebrew Union College and the University of Southern California presented a panoramic view of Jewish-Muslim relations, beginning with Abraham's sons, Ishmael and Isaac, and concluding with present day relations in Israel.
The central theme of the lecture, Muslims and Jews: A History of Relationship, was that the relationship always has been nuanced. For example, Jewish life in Spain during the Middle Ages, although often called the Golden Age, was in fact a mixed blessing under Muslim rule. The lecture was followed by a lively Q&A session.
Professor Firestone's visit, part of UNM's ongoing Lecture Series in Contemporary Jewish Studies, was supported by a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico. The lecture series is administered by UNM's International Studies Institute. The September 2017 Contemporary Jewish Studies speaker will be the distinguished Holy Land archeologist, Professor Jodi Magness from the University of North Carolina. Planning is underway.
Donor-directed and competitive grants targeted a variety of areas including enhancing Jewish life, education, healthcare, human services and the arts. The Foundation distributed $215,000 to charities in New Mexico, across the country and in Israel during 2016.
Jonathan Israel, Professor Emeritus, School of Historical Studies, Modern European History, Institute for Advanced Study presented the fall lecture, The Contest over the Emancipation of European Jewry in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Professor Israel also presented a colloquium for UNM History Department faculty on the French and American revolutions. He provided connections between European and American history that are rarely discussed in the same lecture. Hosted by UNM's International Studies Institute, the lecture series is supported in part by a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico.
Four students who graduated from Albuquerque-area high schools in May received the Neil Isbin Scholarship, a $1,000 scholarship toward college tuition. The scholarship was established in memory of Neil Isbin, a lifelong human rights activist. It is awarded annually to students who have demonstrated achievements or ongoing volunteer work supporting human rights and human dignity.
The 2016 scholarship recipients and the colleges they will be attending this fall are: Myrella Gonzalez (University of New Mexico), Elizabeth Moeser (University of Southern California), Lauren Ostermann (University of New Mexico), and Elena Redmond (University of Kansas).
Israel Experience Fund scholarship recipient, Megan McCorquodale, received a grant that helped her participate in BBYO's March of the Living this spring. The two-week trip began with a week in Poland visiting concentration camps and concluded with a week in Israel. "On my last day in Israel, I was granted the opportunity to be surrounded by a group of people that I had only known for a few weeks but felt more connected to than any other people I had before. It is this that reaffirms my desire to stay connected to the Jewish people, a family and community that is unlike any other," Megan shared in a letter to the Foundation.
Camp scholarships from the Auerbach Fund for Jewish Identity provided assistance to help four children attend sleep-away camp this summer. One enthusiastic 10-year old camper wrote us, "This year I really learned what my religion means to me. I also learned why our history is so important. Every year camp teaches me something new and I can't wait to go next year." A 13-year old camper reflected on her experience: "The most meaningful thing that I took back from camp this year was the meaning of Shabbat. Shabbat is the ‘rest' time of the week, just alike to how camp is the ‘Shabbat' or ‘rest' time of the year."
Four students received camp scholarships from the Galit Mares Memorial Fund. One 12-year old camper shared, "I feel immersed in such a strong Jewish community where I make friends who live all over the U.S. Every moment is so sacred, and camp truly makes me a better person."
Grace Allison and Judith Zabel, attorneys and Foundation board members, presented an entertaining, fact-filled seminar in June that addressed "How can I provide for both family and charity?"
They discussed the intersection of smart estate planning and charitable giving, using real-life examples drawn from years of planning experience.
Featuring speakers Grace Allison and Judith Zabel, attorneys and Foundation board members.
Contact our Executive Director ) if you'd like a copy of the presentation, including a helpful estate planning "to do" list.
Two guest speakers from nationally prominent Jewish family foundations joined Foundation Executive Director Erika Rimson in discussing "How Can You 'Plant' for the Future?," at the fourth annual Legacy Dinner on March 10th. Foundation board chair Art Gardenswartz opened the event by welcoming the large audience and expressing that the "young" Foundation has now grown to become a relevant pillar of our community.
Following dinner, Justin Korda from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation (Tulsa) and Susan Rifkin from the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundations (Chicago) traded examples of the wide-ranging impact of their foundations' grants and programs. Examples included programs to stimulate young adult involvement in American Jewish community life, grants to combat substance abuse in Chicago, and grants to create a new Israeli curriculum for Jewish summer camps.
Erika Rimson noted that the Goodman and Schusterman families' approach to linking their values with innovative grant making is an effective model. She encouraged donors to consider applying the model — on a smaller scale — as they think about their own charitable planning.
Many thanks to Legacy Dinner sponsors: Howard & Debra Wechter Friedman
And hats off to our In-Kind sponsors: Southern Wine & Spirits, New Mexico and Perennial Delights, Plants for the High Desert
To learn more about how partnering with the Foundation can help you achieve your philanthropic vision, contact our Executive Director.
Professor Magda Teter, Shvidler Chair in Judaic Studies and Professor of History at Fordham University presented a lecture From Hatred to Friendship: Catholic Church and the Jews. The well-attended lecture took place on the UNM campus during Holy Week on March 24th. Audience members were engaged and impressed with Dr. Teter's knowledge, presentation clarity and passion for the topic. Some audience members shared stories of coming from both Jewish and Christian backgrounds and walking a fine balance all their lives. Hosted by UNM's International Studies Institute, the UNM Contemporary Jewish Studies Lecture Series is supported in part by a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico.
The Foundation distributed over $280,000 to charities in New Mexico, across the country and in Israel during 2015. Grants targeted a variety of areas including enhancing Jewish life, education, healthcare, human services and the arts.
In 2015, six children (three from Albuquerque, two from Las Cruces and one from Santa Fe) received scholarships that helped them attend Jewish camp thanks to the Irving & Hertha Auerbach Fund for Jewish Identity and the Galit Mares Scholarship Fund. If you are interested in camp scholarships for 2016, read more.
Daisy Astorga, a 2015 Atrisco Heritage Academy graduate, is the 2015 recipient of the Neil Isbin Scholarship award. She received a $1,000 scholarship grant from the Neil Isbin Fund at the Foundation to help her attend Smith College.
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. Astorga's extracurricular activities at school and her work assisting the immigrant community are inspiring and consistent with Neil Isbin's values.
We wish you all the best in college — and beyond — Daisy!
Applications for the 2016 Neil Isbin Scholarship are being accepted until May 1. Learn more.
The Jewish Community Council of Northern New Mexico has created the Santa Fe Memorial Wall Project at the Jewish cemetery on Rodeo Road. Close relatives or friends who are not buried in New Mexico can be honored by memorializing their names on the cemetery wall.
Remembrance plaques, mounted on the cemetery wall, to memorialize loved ones may be purchased for $613 (a portion of which is tax-deductible). Special offer has been extended until August 15, 2015: Purchase a plaque and receive a gift of portraiture from internationally acclaimed photographer Gay Block. View Plaque Order Form.
The 2014 annual report is now available for viewing.
(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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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 Cafe 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.
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.”
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 Paul'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...