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We all feel it: the uncertain twists and turns of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s like a very unsettling and less than amusing roller coaster ride. Yet, in spite of all of this personal turmoil any of you may be experiencing, you and many others harnessed your inner strength and positive energy and seized this novel time for an opportunity. Throughout our country, there has been an increase in giving as well as right here at home.

You create joy and smiles on the faces of so many well-loved individuals by ensuring empowered and enriched lives through use of enhanced technology and resources for creative, social, spiritual and life – affirming programs and activities.

You continue to help save lives in our community by supporting purchase of critical personal protective equipment, screening devices, testing supplies and other necessities. You clearly recognize that life is precious and with each contribution, making a difference in the life of a person who matters, because each life matters. I am humbled by our community’s dedication to these values.

As you are thinking about others, it is incumbent upon me to think about you. You have future responsibilities – your own welfare, your spouse, your children and grandchildren, and your community. How can foundations help you continue to fulfill what is important to you?

The Menorah Park Foundation and other foundations have a profound responsibility to plan for our future in order to be sure we support the mission and responsibilities of the organizations we hold dear, including caring for you and your neighbors and our community as we age, now and for generations to come.

In this generation, many people do thorough planning including advance directives, powers of attorney and wills in place.

Most attorneys will ask you about your charitable giving plans during the estate planning process as well. Maybe you want to leave a specific amount to charity. Or perhaps you want a percentage of an asset, or of your whole estate, to go to charity.

Charities have to plan for the future, too, just like you. A charity’s leaders have to ask: What services can we plan for and sustain? What will we do when government funds are inevitably reduced? How much more strategic planning could we do if we knew we had a stable future revenue source?

Letting the foundation leaders of your beloved charity know they can expect a future gift allows them to show other donors that people are investing in their future, and confident of the long-term prospects of this important and essential place in our community. If you know that many others have left legacy gifts to an organization, you’ll be more likely to join them, and then you’ll be motivating others to follow you in turn.

Talking through your future gift with the charity allows you to have the pleasure of directing it to a program, service or location that means the most to you. Maybe you’ll consider “whatever is needed most at the time.” But many donors take pleasure in knowing that something specific, perhaps that you benefited from yourself will still be there for others. Or maybe you want to shape the growth of a particular service or innovation or provide support to a particular group of residents or clients.

Sharing your plans also helps today’s fundraisers know they are doing a good job of conveying our mission to provide residential options and health care services in a culture of innovation and excellence guided by Jewish values.

Even though Maimonides said that anonymous giving is a high rung of the charity ladder, he taught that making a gift at all is what actually matters the most, regardless of your reason or motivation. Again thank you for all that you do, especially now.

Brian Sokol is chief development officer for the Menorah Park Foundation in Beachwood.

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