Donor Profile: Sy Lapporte’s Family Tradition of Giving

 In Foundation

Seymour “Sy” Lapporte has always understood that giving back is important. You could say it is a family thing  —  his grandmother would give money to hospitals during the Great Depression. His father carried on the tradition of always giving something back. Now, Sy is giving back through the donor advised fund he opened at The Jewish Community Foundation.

Sy speaks highly of donor advised funds as vehicles for giving, both for their ease and for the benefits they provide to the Jewish community and beyond. “I view the donor advised fund as a philanthropy bank,” he says. “Just like when you deposit money at a bank, they make money on your money. When you deposit money with a donor advised fund, [Federation and Foundation] make money on your money. The fund grows, which supports your philanthropy, and the fees support the work of the Federation and Foundation.”

The Lapporte’s family tradition of philanthropy is continuing on. Sy will pass on the tradition to his sons by leaving his donor advised fund to them. They will do the same thing for their kids, ensuring a philanthropic legacy. Even his grandchildren are participating now. Sy was able to match funds his granddaughter raised for her bat mitzvah project with grants from his donor advised fund. All together, they raised $20,000 and spread awareness of causes they care about to over 2,000 peers.

Sy is a proponent of “microphilanthropies,” or modest gifts that have a big impact. Among the microphilanthropies which he supports are Hasidah, a Berkeley organization that supports Jewish couples facing fertility issues, and educational institutions like the Contra Costa Jewish Day School. These gifts will help produce future generations of leaders.

“[Giving through a donor advised fund] is an easy thing to do; you don’t have to write 40 checks a year,” he continues. “You only transfer appreciated stock, cash, or some other asset, to the donor advised fund once a year […] You save on taxes, make grants over time, and build up a charitable fund you can pass onto your kids. It’s a convenient vehicle by which you can do philanthropy.”

The Jewish Community Foundation provides committed East Bay Jewish donors with thoughtful, creative, tax-smart ways to make a real difference in the East Bay and around the world. Over 150 individuals and families have established funds totaling $120 million in assets under management. For more information contact Lisa Tabak, Foundation Executive Director, at 510.839.2900 or lisa@jfed.org.

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