Foundation Focus: Winter 2017



Beatrice Fine, Lara Pabst and Brian ScharfJCF Celebrates a Vibrant Future

The Jewish Community Foundation reflected on another year of success at our Annual Meeting on December 14 at the Jewish Community Campus. Nearly 100 friends and supporters gathered to enjoy refreshments, recount achievements of the year and celebrate “A Vibrant Vision for Our Future,” the theme of the event. 

Irv Belzer, President of the Board of Trustees, welcomed the crowd before inviting Rabbi Cattapan of Congregation Beth Torah to give an inspiring D’var Torah. Belzer then gave his annual address, engaging the crowd with examples of how the Foundation performs vibrant work: offering creative and customized charitable giving services, sustaining trusted partnerships with community agencies, encouraging personal relationships with donors, and providing philanthropic programming for all ages and stages of life.

A highlight of the meeting was the Vibrant Vision art contest. Students at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy and area synagogue religious schools were invited to submit artwork that illustrated their unique visions of a vibrant Jewish community. The winners announced that evening were third-grader Avital Mullokandova, eighth-grader Abbie Davis, and ninth-grader River Hennick. Each winner shared the inspiration behind her artwork and accepted a small monetary prize. The winning artwork will be displayed long-term in the Foundation office.

Pete Levi was presented with the Friend of the Foundation Award for his notable service as chair of the Foundation’s Strategic Planning Committee. Under Levi’s leadership this year, the Foundation created a comprehensive plan that will allow it to become more effective, further advance Jewish philanthropy in Kansas City, and engage the next generation of donors.

The following officers were elected: Irvin V. Belzer, President; Alice Jacks Achtenberg, Vice President; Edward J. Goldstein, Vice President; David R. Goodman, Vice President; James M. Klein, Vice President; Frank W. Lipsman, Vice President; Linda B. Lyon, Vice President; Alana R. Muller, Vice President; Robert V. Palan, Treasurer; Lauren Mattleman Hoopes, Secretary; and Helene Lotman, Assistant Secretary. 

The following Trustees were elected: Lewis A. Berey; Victor A. Bergman; David R. Goodman; Sharon Greenwood; Joseph L. Hiersteiner; Pamela Kanter; Frank W. Lipsman; Lon J. Lowenstein; Jeffrey Mallin; Lara Krigel Pabst; Tracy E. Shafton; and Annie Wishna.

Event Photos
Back to Contents


Irv Belzer and Lauren HoopesSharing our Vibrant Vision for 2017

Dear Friends,

The vision of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City is to foster, sustain and ensure resources needed for a strong and vibrant Jewish community for today and for future generations. 

What do we mean by vibrant? We mean, “having great life, activity, and energy.” 

We see vibrancy everywhere in our community. On the Jewish Community Campus, we see it in the imaginative art that lines the hallways created by seniors in the Heritage Center, in the little children at the CDC whose voices join together so enthusiastically in song, in the volunteers at the JFS Food Pantry who help make sure those in need have enough to eat, and in the boy studying in the atrium, practicing his haftarah in preparation for his Bar Mitzvah. Beyond the Campus, it is apparent in our congregations which provide spiritual support and meaningful educational opportunities and in organizations like the Jewish Vocational Service, working to settle refugees, as they did for many of our ancestors in generations past. We are surrounded by pulsating, colorful life.

Much of the work we do at the Foundation helps to ensure that the vibrant community and shared values we enjoy today will be sustained for generations to come. This year, the Board and staff partnered to conduct hundreds of meetings with you, your family members and friends and with your professional advisors. We made dozens of presentations to boards, committees and community colleagues, and sponsored numerous events, bringing creative ideas to the practice of tzedakah.

This year and every year, thanks to all of you for making the Foundation the thriving community catalyst that it is, and for your commitment and caring for Jewish life in Kansas City and around the world. As we move forward into 2017, we renew our commitment to our role in making our vision of a vibrant community a reality.

Irv Belzer, President & Lauren Mattleman Hoopes, Executive Director

Back to contents


Sam GouldGould Grant Supports Exciting New Planned Giving Programs

It is with great excitement that we launch the Create a Jewish Legacy (CJL) initiative, an on-going program of the Jewish Community Foundation, that will build upon the success of the Bushman Community Endowment (BCE) program which brought planned giving to the forefront of the communal agenda. Thanks to the generosity and wisdom of Stanley J. Bushman and the talented leadership of Merilyn Berenbom, the initial chair of the BCE Program, communal agencies and synagogues have secured more than $42 million in current gifts and future commitments. The CJL initiative, funded with a generous grant from the Sam and Lucy Gould Fund, seeks to make stewardship a key priority to secure the previous investment of time and resources and create a platform for continued success of development efforts.  

As part of this initiative and through this grant, the Foundation is thrilled to have Ellen Kort join our staff on a part-time basis to serve as Legacy Stewardship Consultant. In her role, she will assist our agencies and organizations to maintain and grow planned gifts, as well as potentially increasing the size of those gifts. The Foundation will continue to provide training and guidance to our local agencies and synagogues, as well as provide individualized consulting support to ensure the greatest success. 

Programs will include a community-wide Legacy Giving Day that will feature a prominent speaker in the industry to provide training and motivation to professional and volunteer leaders, as well as professional advisors, such as accountants, financial planners and attorneys. The Legacy Giving Day will alternate years with the “Foundation for Our Future” event that debuted this past September to significant acclaim. There will also be a continuation of the well-received Roundtable Lunches, now dubbed “Parking Lot Lunches” as an homage to Sam Gould’s career in that field and attributed to the fact that many great ideas are shared in the parking lots following communal meetings! Additionally, following upon the successful impact that financial incentives made on the BCE program, the Foundation will make incentive funds available to help agencies develop their stewardship programs and to reaffirm past gift commitments. The effort will be capably chaired by Merilyn Berenbom with Gary Cortes serving as Legacy Giving Day chair.

For more information about the initiative or to learn about making a legacy commitment of your own, please contact Josh Stein or Ellen Kort at 913-327-8245.

Back to contents


Welcome our New Trustees

New Trustees

We are pleased to introduce three of our new Trustees below. The remaining new Trustees will be included in our summer newsletter.

Jeffrey Mallin (left)

“The Foundation is a leader in developing ways to move support throughout the community, executing its mission of making a better world, one dollar at a time. As a Trustee, one thing that will be easy to do from the start will be to advocate for the Foundation, communicating all of the great and creative opportunities it provides for everyone, from donors to grantees in our community.”

Annie Wishna (middle)

“JCF creates connections, from the personal level to the organizational level. The Foundation also helps us think beyond today’s needs and all plan for our community’s future. I hope to spread awareness among my own generation and help my peers understand how to maximize the impact of their charitable dollars.” 

Victor A. Bergman (right)

“I am glad to serve as a Trustee. Our relationship with JCF started when our accountant suggested the convenience of a Donor Advised Fund. We appreciated making a single aggregate contribution that enabled us to make specific gifts at our discretion over time, with the money professionally managed in the meantime. With that decision, we made better choices about our donations, and it made the gifts much easier to send.”

Back to contents


Sam GouldSmarter Giving Strategies for 2017

The “Season of Giving” produced a blizzard of year-end activity at the Foundation. The robust stock market helped many give generously through gifts of appreciated securities and the continued strength of the real estate market produced a few exciting gifts. Everyone should keep in mind that JCF can work with donors to enable gifts of real estate, partnership interests and other assets. As we enter the new year, let’s keep the momentum going with some of the following strategies:

The start of the new year is the perfect time to check off a resolution to establish a Donor Advised Fund. Doing so before you make your 2017 charitable contributions allows you to take advantage of the tax benefits and the efficiency of giving through a fund. Plus, there are incentives that make this an even greater value - up to $1,000!

Now that you have made the bulk of your charitable gifts, take a few moments to reflect on the impact you’ve made. You might even take time to consider giving more strategically to maximize your impact on those causes that matter most. JCF is here to help you give smarter. 

During the winter months when activities slow down is the perfect time to consider your long-term charitable goals. Consider establishing a planned gift or re-evaluating your charitable estate plans to match your current intentions.

Contact Josh Stein at 913-327-8121 to learn more. 

Back to contents


J-LEADersUpcoming Events for Emerging Leaders

J-LEAD Whiskey & Beer Tasting | February 2 @ 7:00

J-LEAD, the Foundation’s giving circle for those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, is hosting a fun night of food, drinks, and music. Attendees will socialize and learn how J-LEAD impacts our community’s past, present and future. For more information about J-LEAD or the event, contact Josh Stein at 913-327-8121. The event location will be provided upon RSVP. 

B’nai Tzedek Shuk | March 2 @ 5:30 Dinner/6:00 Program

Held at the Jewish Community Campus, the 11th annual B’nai Tzedek Shuk will give teens the opportunity to learn about the needs of the community and make their annual grants from their B’nai Tzedek funds. Last year, nearly $4,000 was granted to Jewish nonprofits at the event. For more information about B’nai Tzedek or the Shuk, contact Beatrice Fine at 913-327-4618.

Back to contents

Stay Connected

Sign Up for Emails & Newsletters

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City   |   5801 West 115th Street, Suite 104   |   Overland Park, Kansas 66211   |   913.327.8245   |

The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City and our website,, serve as a resource to help donors achieve their charitable and planned giving goals. We do not provide legal, tax, investment or other professional advice. For such advice, please contact your attorney or other professional advisor.

Privacy PolicyDesigned and Hosted by Digital Lagoon