Many people these days are being forced by life situations to focus more on themselves and their own problems in order to get by. In times like these, those who need the help of others often find themselves on the wayside; homeless shelters, wildlife reservations, orphanages and other non-profits have all been hit hard by the current economy. Despite this, there are still generous souls out there who, whether they can afford it or not, donate their time and/or money to those who need it more. Heritage Pointe, a 200-resident senior community in Mission Viejo that provides both assisted care and incorporates Jewish traditions and lifestyles for its residents, has been lucky enough to find the support of many such people.
“These people are known as Diamond Donors, those who make an annual donation of $1,000 or more to Heritage Pointe to help support the Residents Assistance Fund,” explained Leo Pinsky, the Diamond Donor chairman. “This particular fund allows those who could otherwise not afford to live at Heritage Pointe to do so with the peace, comfort, care and security that is afforded to all of the residents.”
Heritage Pointe’s Diamond Donor Program began in 1993, four years after the community opened. The program started with thirty-two members and two goals in mind: to reach a membership of 100 people as soon as possible and to help subsidize the Resident Assistance Fund that allows disadvantaged Jewish elders to live in the community.
“Since the Diamond Donor Program’s inception in 1993, it has grown to more than 150 members as of last year,” Pinsky explained. “And in the past 20 years, the Diamond Donors have contributed almost $2,000,000 to Heritage Pointe collectively.”
In addition to incorporating Jewish lifestyles, Heritage Pointe provides specialized social, cultural, religious, educational and recreational activities to its senior residents. It also utilizes a volunteer program that brings in young and old volunteers alike who spend time with the residents in a variety of different activities such as Judaic Studies and Jokes and Knitting and Kibitzing. The community’s many amenities include a synagogue, music room, outdoor garden, wellness center, putting green and library. For elders who highly value their Jewish heritage and upbringing, the community serves a very special purpose. Residents living in the community include Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans; unfortunately, not all residents are able to afford to live in Heritage Pointe. That’s where the Diamond Donor Program comes in.
“Each year, we hold an Annual Appreciation Dinner for our Diamond Donors to thank them for their continuing support,” Pinsky says. “This dinner is very well-attended, because the dinner is the best that money can buy and is totally complimentary to the members. There are never any long speeches, and the members enjoy a full evening of eating, drinking and total conversation and enjoyment with their friends.”
This year’s Annual Appreciation Dinner will be held at the Bistango Restaurant in Irvine on February 19. For more information on the Diamond Donor Program, readers can reach Pinsky at (949) 718-9890 or the Development Office of Heritage Pointe at (949) 364-0010.
About Heritage Pointe (from www.heritagepointe.com)
A non-profit, 200-resident community in Mission Viejo, Heritage Pointe provides independent, assisted and memory care services for the elderly, while incorporating Jewish traditions and lifestyles. It offers specialized social, cultural, religious, educational and recreational activities to seniors. Amenities include comprehensive health care services, an on-site synagogue, traditional Judaic programs and a Kosher kitchen serving three meals a day. Fundraising from within the community provides $1 million annually to assist residents in financial need.
In the fall of 2010, Heritage Pointe was named one of the “TopWorkplaces” for the second year in a row by The Orange County Register. In the spring of 2009, the Heritage Pointe synagogue became a named congregation: K’hilat Horim (Community of Parents), led by a full-time cantor, Susan Deutsch.
For more information, contact Heritage Pointe at 27356 Bellogente, Mission Viejo, California 92691; www.heritagepointe.org; (949) 364-9685 (tours); (949)364-0010 (donations).