The Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven recently announced a significant community milestone: as of September 1, 2021, the community assets at the Foundation total $75 million.
Dr. Craig Sklar served as Chair of the Jewish Foundation when this achievement was reached. He commented on the uniqueness of reaching such a significant milestone in the midst of a pandemic. “I could have never anticipated what it would entail to lead the Foundation during a pandemic,” Sklar said. “Not only did we see our endowment grow to $75 million, but we were most importantly able to establish the Covid-Maimonides relief fund, a fund for the Jewish Elderly, a synagogue and local institution security grant initiative, and an investment in Jewish advocacy through JLens. It was uplifting and gratifying to be able to help so many of those in need in our community."
Lisa Stanger echoed Sklar's sentiments and emphasized that "although the $75 million is an important milestone, more important is the impact. Last year we distributed over $3 million, over $2.5 million was to local Jewish organizations and synagogues. In the past 10 years alone we have distributed $34 million. And, during COVID, we were able to step-up and meet the increased needs, deploying emergency grants for critical human needs, in our community.”
The incoming chair of the Jewish Foundation, Scott Hurwitz, feels pride, especially in the Foundation's approach to managing its endowment funds "Strong investment returns, generous donors, and professional stewardship got us to $75 million." In a recent statement he wrote "The Jewish Foundation is very proud of our approach to managing our endowment funds. We have an active working investment committee, led by co-chairs Steve August and Craig Sklar. This committee oversees the work of our independent, outside, investment advisor, SCS Financial, a nationally renowned endowment investment manager. Our one-year return as of the end of the second quarter was 36.13%, and our 3-year annualized return is 14.13% (this is when SCS began managing all of the Foundation funds).
Lisa Stanger has been our Executive Director for over 13 years and has overseen the majority of our growth. Lisa and her team, Tiberius Halai, Beth Kupcho, and Stephanie Licsak, work daily to support our agencies and donors and are the driving force behind the Foundation’s success. Lisa’s expertise in endowment law, charitable and tax planning, and philanthropic advising, as well as her passion for our community have made her an invaluable community asset. We are lucky to have her at the Foundation.
We have just achieved a significant milestone, but still have work to do. Although we currently manage over 700 funds for community partners and individual donors, much of the community is not aware of our work. One of our primary objectives over the next several years will be to expand our impact. We will continue to support our community partners as they grow their endowments, as well as help individuals plan and achieve their philanthropic goals. We look forward to working side by side with our entire community as we continue the Foundation’s important work."