Creating a Jewish Legacy

Lisa Wenger, past president of Congregation B’nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek, originally began volunteering because she wanted to give back to her synagogue. “It seemed like a great way to say thank you and help keep things going,” she said. “I didn’t have any deep motivations or lofty goals, just a general desire to be an effective volunteer for something I believe in.”

When Wenger heard about Federation and Foundation’s Create a Jewish Legacy program — which trains Jewish organizations to create a culture of legacy giving among their donors — she was intrigued.

Legacy gifts are contributions through a donor’s will, trust, retirement account, or life insurance policy. They are used to build endowment funds, which become permanent sources of annual funding for an organization.

Wenger immediately sensed the value such a program would have, especially in Contra Costa, where a combination of distance from major Jewish hubs across the tunnel as well as suburban sprawl lead to challenges in creating a cohesive Jewish community.

She initially chaired B’nai Tikvah’s legacy efforts, and was so successful — becoming a role model to the other 17 participating organizations — that she was asked to serve as the Create a Jewish Legacy chair for the entire East Bay.

“Legacy giving connects your organization and its members, together and forever,” says Wenger. “And there’s no way that we would’ve been able to do this program without Federation and Foundation. We would never have had the capacity or knowledge to carry out any kind of legacy effort.”

In other words, it was Create a Jewish Legacy’s training, consulting, donor recognition, and marketing support that has empowered B’nai Tikvah to dive into legacy giving and reap its benefits.

“Legacy giving is like brushing your teeth,” she concludes. It’s very good for you to do it, and Create a Jewish Legacy has made it easy.”

Your gift to Federation’s Community Campaign strengthens Create a Jewish Legacy. As part of March to Passover, we are counting down 40 days to the first night of Passover, sharing stories of how Federation donors change lives. During this time, all new and increased gifts will be matched dollar for dollar, thanks to the generosity of a group of Federation donors. Through your donation, you will be building Jewish community in the East Bay, in Israel, and around the world. Join us in making a difference: give today.

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