HomeApril 2012Planting the Giving Tree

Planting the Giving Tree

In March the Orange County Jewish community saved the Moishe House, sent a big delegation to the AIPAC conference in Washington and worried about the bombings in Israel.  In April we’re scouring our houses, washing Passover dishes and having a taxing experience or two.  There’s a connection among all of the above.
The Moishe House and other amenities for young people represent the future of the American Jewish community.  Talking to people in Washington is critical to the future of Israel.  Passover is a holiday in which we are supposed to feel the pain of our ancestors, revel in their freedom and teach our children to appreciate the Seder and everything it represents.  As to tax time, there can be both present and future benefits to those who connect all of these dots.
Obviously, tax benefits are only one part of the equation.  Our Jewish future hangs in the balance.
April is as good a time as any to discuss planned giving.  In this issue we talk about how various organizations approach that subject.
Just as we were going to press, I learned of another approach – planned giving with a profit motive in the form of impact investments.  An article by Helen Chernikoff in The New York Jewish Week (March 10, 2012) talked about how Saul Orbach is applying this concept to the Jewish world.
According to the article, Orbach, an entrepreneur and investor who has volunteered as a mentor for PresenTense, a group that helps Jewish entrepreneurial efforts, believes that Jewish philanthropy can take some cues from the private sector.  He is attempting to create a for-profit social impact investment fund, the first in the Jewish world.  “It’s venture capital with a social conscience: impact investors put their money into companies whose products or services promise to generate both a financial return to them and a benefit to the community,” the article explained.
Orbach envisions that his fund will tackle specifically Jewish problems and enable what had been non-profit organizations to grow beyond the startup stage.  Eventually, he hopes that they can become self-sustaining.  While some philanthropists might argue that giving is giving and investing is investing, Orbach hopes that some operations might be able to exist without the need for perpetual donations.
Whether you buy into this idea or not, take a serious look at the institutions around you, take stock of what you and your family appreciate about them and figure out how you can do your part to pay it forward.  Establish, discusss and act on your priorities and let your children know that you’re doing it.  There’s no time like the present.


Orange County Jewish Life wishes to thank the people who were motivated by our last issue and stepped up to save the Moishe House, as well as people who make a difference in the community in so many ways on a daily basis.  Happy Passover to one and all.


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