Consider Leaving Legacy with Gift That Keeps on Giving
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Article reprinted with permission from the Cleveland Jewish News.
Carol F. Wolf | SPECIAL TO THE CJN
When someone asks me what I do, I answer, “I’m a fundraiser.”
Almost every time, whether the person is my doctor, an acquaintance, neighbor or family member, I can predict that the response will be, “I could never ask people for money. It’s important work, but I could never do that.” This question provides me with an opportunity to explain what I really do – help people live forever.
In addition to securing current funding that sustains and grows Jewish Cleveland, I am privileged to help people create lasting legacy plans and assist them as they make commitments.
Legacy means something different to each of us. Some think of it as what they leave financially, feeling good that something they built will be enjoyed by their children and grandchildren. The legacy I am referring to says, “I love my family and my community. My name may not be remembered, but my Jewish community will be better because I was here.” Leaving this kind of legacy speaks loudly to your family and your community, saying, “Our community is full of Jewish life and opportunities because those before me ensured it for us. I will continue that important work, even after am gone, and I hope you - my children and grandchildren will do the same.”
As the Talmud says “…whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” Legacy gifts improve and even save lives every day. These funds enable young adults to attend college and children to experience Camp Wise with scholarships. Isolated senior citizens receive healthy meals, and Jewish women and children safely sleep at the Hebrew Shelter Home.
Chances are you already support Jewish charitable organizations including your synagogue, but have you included one or more in your will or estate plan? Creating your Jewish legacy empowers you to further the work of your heart. What does the future look like for our Jewish community? What rituals, experiences and places influenced who you are today? How did living in Jewish Cleveland contribute to a vibrant Jewish life your family? The journey to a personal, permanent legacy plan is so meaningful and so satisfying for all who embrace it.
All of us, regardless of age or wealth, have the power to help sustain our vibrant Jewish community in some way. Most people will leave behind assets such as a retirement plan or insurance policy. Designating a portion, any amount, to the organizations that matter most during your lifetime, makes a difference. You can ensure that your own family is supported first, but maybe the Jewish community can be a member of your extended family – a family that, with your help, will live forever.
Carol F. Wolf is assistant vice president, planned giving and endowments at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland in Beachwood.