Our History

Since our founding in 1972, the Foundation has invested heavily in the health and vibrancy of the Greater Hartford Jewish community. The Foundation serves as a partner, educator and trusted advisor for individuals and families pursuing meaningful philanthropic impact while building a permanent pool of charitable dollars to secure the long-term future of the Jewish community. With $145 million in assets under management, more than 1,400 individual charitable funds, and annual grants of $4.5 million, we are among the largest foundations in Connecticut. Through partnership and collaboration with other local organizations, the Foundation’s focus today has been outward looking with an eye toward ways to strengthen the community, its donor base, and the philanthropic ecosystem.

The Foundation represents the vision of Jewish community leaders who have worked assiduously to make certain that long-term financial resources are available to the Greater Hartford Jewish community and that this community remains relevant and vital into the future.

As an organization, the Foundation serves as a conduit between donors’ charitable intentions and the critical needs of the community. The Foundation accomplishes this role by assisting donors in structuring charitable gifts, building legacies, facilitating personalized philanthropy, and distributing community grants to a broad range of programs and institutions.

The Foundation was originally created as the “Endowment Fund” of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford (“the Federation”) with a $50,000 allocation intended to support the Federation and its agencies by generating endowment and legacy gifts, responding to unforeseen needs and emergencies, and supporting special projects and new programs. In 1993, as part of a comprehensive plan to build endowment and create greater flexibility in addressing the needs of the community, the Endowment Fund became an independent, self-supporting charitable entity.

Known today as the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, the Foundation models itself on other Jewish and non-sectarian community foundations across the country. Although we are an independent community foundation, we maintain a unique and strong relationship with the Federation. The two organizations work closely together and the CEOs collaborate on community needs to serve the region.

Over the years, the Foundation has been a significant supporter of the Federation and the two institutions have worked together on a number of key initiatives. In particular, the Federation was a partner in the community-wide endowment campaign, Aim Chai, as well as the JMAP community study. The Foundation was also the principal funder of the Federation’s Jewish Leadership Academy, which is a comprehensive lay leadership development program available to leaders across the Jewish community of Greater Hartford.

Most recently, the Foundation and Federation jointly launched the Jewish Hartford Rapid Relief and Recovery Fund to meet the basic human needs of individuals and families, and to provide financial support to synagogues and agencies to help them maintain their vital services to our community.

Over the past several years, the Foundation has undertaken a number of innovative initiatives to address the changing nature of the Jewish community and its needs. It has positioned itself in an outward looking role and has successfully promoted community-wide dialogue and collaboration. Today, the Foundation serves not only as a strong financial institution, but as an organization that educates the growing community, builds philanthropy, and fosters a strong community agenda.

Pictured at right are the founders of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford: (from top to bottom) Philip Feltman, Augusta Rubin, Michael Suisman and Melvin Title.

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Our History