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Headlines & Happenings

Members of the media are encouraged to contact Maureen O’Connell, moconnell@jcfhartford.org, for news about the Jewish Community Foundation.

Exploring Philanthropy through a Family Fund

Exploring Philanthropy through a Family Fund

We engage families to explore their shared values and charitable interests. We helped Richard and Cyral Sheldon establish the Sheldon Family Advised Fund. Richard and Cyral’s children, Scott, Sloane and Stacy, share their experiences in selecting charities and making annual grants from their family fund.

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Family Philanthropy During the Pandemic

Family Philanthropy During the Pandemic

When the world seems chaotic, Sean White finds solace by looking at a photo of his grandmother making matzah balls. This is Sean’s most treasured memory of Miriam Toubman. More than 30 years ago, the Toubmans began a tradition of family philanthropy to honor their father and grandfather, William, who passed away at age 52.

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Expanding Behavioral Health Options at Hebrew Senior Care

Expanding Behavioral Health Options at Hebrew Senior Care

The Foundation joined with many of our community’s major donors to assist Hebrew Senior Care (HSC) with its impressive plan to transform its business model from an acute care ward to an expanded Behavioral Health Unit (BHU). The expansion has doubled HSC’s capacity to...

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Powerful Together: Addressing COVID-19

Powerful Together: Addressing COVID-19

We are always more powerful when we come together as a community to respond to a crisis. That’s why the Foundation and the Jewish Federation established the Jewish Hartford Rapid Relief and Recovery Fund (RRR Fund) in March 2020 to help people, agencies and synagogues impacted by COVID-19. The Foundation and Federation seeded the RRR Fund with $150,000. In the first months of the crisis, staff from the Foundation, Federation and Jewish Family Services (JFS) procured and delivered food each week, including hot kosher meals for Passover, plus Dignity Grows hygiene products to 125 Jewish families in need in 19 towns in Greater Hartford. The food program was eventually transitioned to JFS, which is doing a tremendous job serving the community’s needs.

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Teen Explores his Values Through his Fund

Teen Explores his Values Through his Fund

“Philanthropy allows me to support organizations that share my values, spread the blessings I have been lucky enough to receive, and give back to the communities where I have lived and worked,” says Jack Hutensky.  Jack’s parents started a Donor Advised Fund for...

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Helping People in Need

Helping People in Need

Grants from Donor Advised Fund holders are improving the quality of life for clients with limited finances at the Jewish Association for Community Living (JCL). "Gifts from the Foundation's generous donors allowed our residents to receive rental assistance,...

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Music Empowers Neighborhood Children

Music Empowers Neighborhood Children

Donor Advised Fund holders are supporting Music Matters, a first of its kind program for underserved children in Hartford. Hosted the by Charter Oak Cultural Center’s Youth Institute, students in grades 4 and 5 enjoy free private and ensemble instrumental music instruction in a comprehensive afterschool program four days a week, as well as food and homework assistance.

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JewGood Hartford Redefines Philanthropy

JewGood Hartford Redefines Philanthropy

Will millennials be the generation that redefines philanthropy? Studies show millennials want to be more experimental and data-driven in their giving, and more personally involved in addressing long-standing social challenges. Steve Piaker thinks JewGood Hartford...

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Endowment in Action

Endowment in Action

Frank Kavitsky left a legacy gift decades ago that has provided remarkable support every year. His legacy will continue far into the future, since he entrusted the Foundation with a planned gift before he passed away in 1998. Since he left this gift of $1.2 million, the fund has granted out nearly $1 million to the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, and his fund’s balance is $1.5 million — even larger than his original gift. That is endowment in action!

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JTConnect Receives Springboard Grant

JTConnect Receives Springboard Grant

Jewish Teen Learning Connection (JTConnect), which demonstrated impressive growth in the last few years, was awarded a three-year Springboard grant of $120,000. The grant is being used to support a second staff member at JTConnect, allowing Executive Director Eric Maurer to spend more time working on fundraising, board development and engagement and strategic planning. “Growing our programming and strengthening our operation would not be possible if it weren’t for the Foundation’s Springboard grant,” says Eric.

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Taking a Stand Against Racial Injustice

Taking a Stand Against Racial Injustice

To help advance racial, economic and legal justice for the Black community, JCF’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to grant $10,000 to the YWCA Hartford Region for its advocacy programs and $10,000 to the Urban League of Greater Hartford to support economic empowerment. In an unusual departure from utilizing its Community Grants Program funds to support local Jewish institutions exclusively, JCF’s staff and leadership initiated these grants, due to extraordinary circumstances in our community and country. “Times like these demand that we not only speak out against racism, but also match our words with tangible support,” says Jacob Schreiber, President and CEO of the Foundation.

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Preserving Jewish History

Preserving Jewish History

How have the Jewish people survived for thousands of years? Dr. Jeffrey Rudikoff pondered this question 55 years ago after his first child was born. “With a tiny minority dispersed throughout the world, Judaism should have vanished, but

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Funding Educational Dreams

Funding Educational Dreams

Education was very important to Barbara and Leizor Kessel, so they created a scholarship fund to benefit Jewish students from Greater Hartford pursuing higher education. When they passed, the Kessels, who were both Holocaust survivors, left their condo, personal property and part of their estate to create the Leizor and Barbara Kessel Scholarship Fund.

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Lillian Fund Inspires Giving and Action

Lillian Fund Inspires Giving and Action

Karen Binkhorst’s first gift to the Foundation’s Lillian Fund was in honor of her mother for Mother’s Day. “I made donations in my mother’s name for several years, but I wanted to be more involved in philanthropy and give back to a community that has given so much to me,” explains Karen, a life-long resident of West Hartford. 

Karen eventually joined the Lillian Fund Committee, offering her time, talent and passion to help women and children in need. “I want to change lives for the better and to empower as many privileged people as possible to help nonprofits,” she says, “and the Lillian Fund is a beautiful way to do this.” 

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Endowing Social Services

Endowing Social Services

When Marlene Scharr’s youngest child was born with Down Syndrome, she thought about starting a group home for families who have members with intellectual challenges to celebrate Jewish traditions together. This initial vision inspired a gift in 1976 to the Foundation to establish the Jewish Association for Community Living (JCL) group homes in the Greater Hartford Jewish community.

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Fifteen Jewish Organizations to Participate in Greater Hartford Legacy Giving Initiative

WEST HARTFORD, CT – February 15, 2021 – The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (The Foundation) is spearheading a regional legacy giving initiative with 14 Jewish organizations that’s part of Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s (HGF) Life & Legacyprogram. A nationwide Jewish legacy giving initiative, Life & Legacy has secured more than 28,000 after-lifetime commitments with an estimated value of over a billion dollars for Jewish organizations across North America.

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Greater Hartford Jewish Community Selected to Participate in National Jewish Legacy Giving Program Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford to lead the initiative

WEST HARTFORD, CT – The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (The Foundation) was selected to join 69 other Jewish Community Foundations and Jewish Federations in the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s (HGF) LIFE & LEGACY® program. A nationwide Jewish legacy giving initiative, LIFE & LEGACY has secured more than 28,000 after-lifetime commitments with an estimated value of over a billion dollars for Jewish organizations across North America.

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Foundation and Federation Grant $600,000 to Address Pandemic-Related Needs

WEST HARTFORD, CT (December 14, 2020) – Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford have distributed more than $600,000 in grants to the people, agencies, and synagogues of Greater Hartford’s Jewish community experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. The grants were made through the Jewish Hartford Rapid Relief and Recovery Fund (RRR Fund), a joint initiative created in March 2020 in response to the pandemic.

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Foundation Donors Pool Grant Money to Make Nonprofit’s Wish Come True

November 13, 2020 – ‘Tis the season of thanks and giving in West Hartford’s Jewish community.
When the Jewish Association for Community Living (JCL), a nonprofit that assists people with developmental disabilities, needed to purchase a new wheelchair van, philanthropists granted its wish through their funds held at the Jewish Community Foundation.

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JCF Welcomes New Chair, Two New Trustees

October 20, 2020 – Three prominent community leaders will serve on the Board of Trustees for the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (JCF) for FY2021. Merrill Mandell, Chair of the Governance Committee, presented the nominations at JCF’s recent annual meeting. The Board voted and approved the following:

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Jewish Community Foundation and Jewish Federation Launch New Fund to Help People Impacted by COVID-19 in Greater Hartford’s Jewish Community

March 26, 2020 – Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford today are launching the Jewish Hartford Rapid Relief and Recovery Fund (the Fund), a joint initiative providing Jewish community organizations with the resources required to address emergency social service and organizational needs caused by COVID-19.

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