The Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation (Foundation), located on the Jewish Community Center campus south of 132nd and Dodge in Omaha, Nebraska, was established in 1983 and became a separate non-profit corporation in 2004, legally classified by the IRS as a supporting foundation of The Jewish Federation of Omaha, Inc. (Federation). The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors, led by President David Gilinsky and 16 other Jewish community lay leaders.
The mission of the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation is to help assure the stability and continuity of Jewish life and to support communal services in the Omaha area by establishing and accumulating enduring assets for permanent funding resources.
As of the end of our last fiscal year, June 30, 2019, the Foundation’s assets under management totaled $85.7 million, including $27 million in donor-advised funds. In fiscal 2018-2019, the Foundation made over $5 million in charitable distributions. Over $2 million was distributed from the Foundation’s endowment and custodial funds, 85% of which went to support the Federation and its agencies. An additional $3.3 million was distributed from Foundation donor-advised funds, 27% of which supported the Federation’s Annual Campaign.
The Foundation is responsible for development, investment, accounting, administration and donor contact for 139 donor-advised funds; 127 teen donor-advised funds; 349 endowment, custodial or discretionary funds; and four supporting foundations.
Executive Director, Howard Epstein, attorney and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy, joined the Foundation as Executive Director on January 1, 2013. He is the fourth executive director in the Foundation’s 36 year history, preceded by Martin C. Ricks, the late Sheldon Bernstein, and the late Jerold Rosen. Operations Manager Janet Henthorn, Fund Administrator/Marketing Coordinator Laurie Peatrowsky, Endowment Assistant and Staff Writer Linda Pollard, and LIFE & LEGACY™ Coordinator/OJAA Coordinator Jay Katelman round out the Foundation staff, standing ready, willing and able to assist the Foundation’s supporters and donors.
In cooperation with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, the Foundation coordinates the LIFE & LEGACY program for Omaha’s Jewish Community. The Foundation is working with nine local partner organizations to build a culture of legacy giving throughout Omaha’s Jewish community, with a goal of securing legacy, or after-lifetime gifts, which will assure a solid financial base for future generations of Omaha’s Jewish institutions and Omaha’s Jewish residents. Our nine partner organizations are: Anti-Defamation League/Community Relations Committee; Beth El Synagogue; Beth Israel Synagogue; Chabad House; Friedel Jewish Academy; Institute for Holocaust Education; Jewish Federation of Omaha and its agencies, including Center for Jewish Life, Jewish Community Center, Jewish Press, Jewish Social Services (Jewish Family Service, Jewish Senior Outreach, Rose Blumkin Jewish Home); Nebraska Jewish Historical Society; and Temple Israel. Now in its sixth year, Omaha’s LIFE & LEGACY initiative has garnered city-wide support from 340 individuals and couples, who have made a total of 652 legacy commitments with an estimated value of $20,165,380.
All of this could not be possible without the exceptional generosity of the Omaha Jewish community.