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Tara Fainstein, Jewish Foundation CEO and Ian Barnes, Foundation CFO

By BERNIE BELLAN
The Jewish Foundation committed a record amount in grants for the year ending December 31, 2017. A total of $4,545,739 was allocated in the form of both designated and undesignated grants.
That amount brings the total amount distributed by the Foundation since 1964 to $59,341,605.


As well, according to the Foundation’s annual report, which was recently released, its “asset base increased to $118 million, a $10 million increase from the previous year,” wrote Ian Barnes, Chief Financial Officer of the Foundation, in his message published in the annual report.
According to Barnes, the “increase reflects $4.0 million in new endowment contributions and a net return on investments of 9.8%.” Barnes added, however, that “growth for growth’s sake is not the Foundation’s ultimate objective. Growth translates to increased cash flow of grants and scholarships to the overall community over the long term.”
Of the total amount allocated in grants, the largest share was in the form of “designated grants”, meaning that the Foundation had no discretion in giving those grants. The amount in designated grants came to $3,145,686.

The total of undesignated grants amounted to $1,391,053.
Interestingly, while the annual report published the specific amount given in each “undesignated” grant, for “designated” grants all that were published were the names of the recipients.
We asked Tara Fainstein, the new CEO of the Foundation, whether there was any particular reason that detailed information was given about undesignated grants, but not about designated grants.
Tara replied: “I did a little research and discovered there is no reason and we are looking to incorporate the information going forward. We are also happy to provide the information to you.”
Once that information is made available to us, we will report on it. In the meantime, here is some more detailed information about undesignated grants:

The largest recipient of undesignated grants was Gray Academy: $149,037.
There were 63 grants given in the undesignated category. In addition there were four “special grants” to individuals for creative initiatives”; eleven Womens’ Endowment Fund grants; and $3,000 in grants to students in Gray Academy for their Youth in Philanthropy program.
Other highlights of the annual report were:
The number of new funds at the Foundation grew by 101, of which the number of new funds over $1,000 grew by 58.
The number of new Bar/Bat Mitzvah funds grew by 25. A total of $26,823 of Bar/Bat Mitzvah funds were distributed.
The Foundation awarded a total of 59 scholarships worth $138,396.
The Jewish Community Campership Fund grew to $748,916. $31,424 will be distributed to community camps in 2018.
There were 34 new Book of Life signers.
There were 11 Realized Bequests for a total of $1,202,213.

In her message in the Annual Report, Foundation CEO Fainstein noted that two more Jewish organizations, Temple Shalom and Shalom Residences Foundation, established Organizational Endowment Funds with the Foundation in 2017. As a result they both qualified for matching funds from the Foundation.
As Fainstein noted, “by opening and growing endowment funds, these organizations are investing now to ensure a reliable source of funding in the future. There are now 24 Jewish organizations in the community that have opened Organizational Endowment Funds.”
Further, there are now four Jewish organizations that are benefiting from what is known as the “BERVIN Incentive Fund” (named for its founders, Berdie and Irvin Cohen).
Under the terms of the BERVIN Fund, “when a participating Jewish organization adds $720,000 to its new or existing organizational endowment fund, it triggers a $108,000 incentive contribution from the BERVIN Incentive Fund.
“Once an organization reaches the $1 million mark in new money, they earn the right to withdraw from their endowment fund in the event of a rainy day or special project…”

With the Shalom Residences Foundation having joined the list of organizations now benefiting from the BERVIN Fund, the total number of organizations under the BERVIN umbrella has grown to four since the fund was established in 2014.
The others are: Bnai Brith Jewish Community Camp; Jewish Child and Family Service; and Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education.
When one considers that the Jewish Federation will distribute $2,715,00 in allocations to member agencies of the Jewish Federation along with $1 Million in designated grants to Jewish organizations, with the Jewish Foundation having distributed $4,545,739 in both designated and undesignated grants (including some grants to non-Jewish organizations), it seems fair to conclude that the financial health of the Jewish community is excellent.

I know that certain organizations may take issue with that assessment, but for a community likely numbering no more than 13,000 (based on the most recent available data), to have over $7 million distributed in one form or another by the Federation and the Foundation translates into almost $540 distributed per person in our community to Jewish organizations and individual members of our community. That’s quite an impressive figure.

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