2017 Year in Review
2017 was a milestone year for the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, as we marked 50 years of dedicated leadership and significant philanthropy.
We celebrated our 50th anniversary by honoring our past presidents at our Annual Event last March. The occasion was also commemorated by a generous $50,000 challenge grant from Leon Rittenberg Jr. and the Rittenberg Family Foundation, which was met and surpassed. I wholeheartedly thank all of you who eagerly responded to the Rittenberg challenge and generously donated to JEF’s General Fund.
The rapid response and generosity of JEF’s fund holders and our Board of Trustees to support relief efforts for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria was extraordinary, exemplifying the importance of JEF and what your funds at our foundation are ready and able to do at all times, including in times of crisis.
We are fortunate to live in such a caring, charitable community. In 2016, donors gave almost $5 million from their funds at JEF to over 400 Jewish and non-Jewish charitable organizations. Consider the impact that these generous gifts have made locally, nationally, and worldwide.
JEF’s skilled Board of Trustees and staff serve as stewards of charitable giving by providing strategic guidance to our donors about their philanthropy and prudent management of their funds. I thank each of them for their unwavering dedication to improving the quality of life in the communities that we serve today and for many generations to come.
Please join us at our Annual Event on March 11, 2018, when we will honor the following members of our community for their enduring service and philanthropy: the Goldring and Franco families and the Goldring Family Foundation with the Tzedakah Award; Morton Katz with the Young Family Award for Professional Excellence; and Joan Cox with the Jewish Federations of North America Endowment Achievement Award.
Now that JEF has successfully reached the first 50 years, we look forward to the next 50 years of philanthropy and beyond.
Andrea S. Lestelle, President
As the 50th anniversary of the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana comes to an end, we look back with pride on JEF’s accomplishments and reflect on our aspirations for the future.
JEF is the Jewish community’s savings account for the future, but there are important unmet needs that require our financial support today.
I have been fortunate to be the director of JEF for the past 27 years – over half of the foundation’s existence. Morton Gaba and Helen Mervis preceded me and they, along with the lay leadership and donors they worked with, provided a strong base for those of us who came after. According to our 2016 audit, JEF has total assets of over $53 million. Our General Fund, which is used to make grants to our community’s constituent agencies and other Jewish organizations and projects of Jewish interest, awarded over $70,000 in grants in 2016 and in 2017 to date, over $100,000. In 2018, JEF expects to increase the amount awarded yet again.
In the pages of this 50th anniversary report, you will see the names – and some of the faces – of our past presidents and past Tzedakah honorees. The dedication of these community leaders – as well as our professional advisory council – have contributed greatly to making JEF the success that it is today. Thanks to you, our donors, we can be justly proud of our half century of accomplishments.
JEF’s Board and staff are dedicated to securing an enduring and vibrant Jewish community, not only in Greater New Orleans, but throughout Louisiana. We are honored to have earned your trust as your philanthropic partner and to provide you with the resources you need to make a difference in tikkun olam. From generation to generation, our mission is embodied in these words from the Talmud, “As our ancestors planted for us before we were born, so do we plant for future generations.” Please join us as we continue our mission for the next 50 years.
Saundra K. Levy, Executive Director