Jewish Family Service Launches $7.5 Million Endowment Campaign with $2.5 Million Lead Gift
In an exciting community event in early October, Ken Steinberg, Chair of Jewish Community Partners and Jenny Herman, Chair of the Memphis Jewish Community Center announced the launch of a multi-million dollar endowment campaign for Jewish Family Service (JFS) and recognized philanthropists and major civic supporters Wendy and Avron Fogelman for their transformational lead gift of $2.5 million.
In recognition of their generous gift, Jewish Family Service has been renamed “Wendy and Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service.”
“Caring for the needs of the most vulnerable and less fortunate members of our Jewish community is one of the highest responsibilities anyone can have,” stated Mr. Fogelman when addressing the crowd of nearly 100 community leaders. “Through our gift we envision a Jewish Family Service in Memphis that is accessible, well run, and totally responsive to the needs of every member of our Jewish community in order to be assured that every Memphis Jewish family has a place to turn when help is needed.”
Also recognized were long-time community leaders Judy and Larry Moss, who stepped forward with a gift of $1 million toward this effort.
“This is an exciting time for our community and for Jewish Family Service,” reported Mr. Steinberg. “We are so grateful for the generosity of Avron and Wendy Fogelman and Judy and Larry Moss. We are off to a great start.”
The community has set a goal to raise $7.5 million for the newly created Jewish Family Service Endowment Fund of the Jewish Foundation of Memphis. The fund will ensure that JFS is able to meet the needs of Jewish families for generations. “The Memphis Jewish community has a long history of stepping up with generosity when the community is in need,” said Ms. Herman. “This is again one of those times.”
Jewish Family Service has a 150+ year history of caring for Memphis’ Jewish families with services that have ranged from supporting those stricken with yellow fever, providing financial support for immigrants at the turn of the century and post-world war II, resettling Jews from the Former Soviet Union in the 1980’s and building 100’s of families through adoptions.
Today, JFS is funded by Memphis Jewish Federation and operated by the Memphis Jewish Community Center, a change that was made in 2015 in response to service needs identified through Federation’s 2014 Needs Assessment Study. “After seeing the results of the study, we knew that a change was needed,” said Steve Libby Past President of Jewish Family Service. “The JCC stepped up and took the reins and created an organization that served more than 450 people in its first year.” Over the past 5 years Memphis Jewish Federation has provided $1.6 million to support the new service model through a combination of grants from its annual campaign and bridge funding from “above and beyond” contributions from community donors.
“Today’s Jewish Family Service looks very different from the JFS of a hundred years ago,” said Judy Bookman current chair of the JFS Advisory Committee. “We have to be nimble in order to address the changing needs of Jewish families.” She then described the current service offerings of the agency which includes Senior Services, Special Needs Support, Information and Referral and Emergency Assistance. “We have an aging community, so demand for services such as transportation, case management and socialization will continue to grow,” she concluded.
In concluding, Mr. Fogelman stated, “we feel this responsibility deeply and it has inspired us to make this transformational gift to the Jewish Family Service that will benefit and care for the needs of any less fortunate member of our Jewish community in Memphis.”