All of us experience transitions during our lifetimes. Some are expected, such as high school graduation, marriage, and having children; others are unexpected, such as divorce, job loss, and premature death. All evoke a range of emotions and responses. As I end my 27 years as the Director of the Planned Giving and Endowment program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis I find myself reflecting on both my personal and professional milestones during this time.
When I began my career as a Jewish communal professional I was transitioning from being a certified financial planner to the non-profit world. My daughters were in high school. I was following in the footsteps of Frank Newman, former Federation Endowment Director and Executive Vice President. Several forward-thinking community leaders had established endowment funds and started the donor advised fund program. The endowment assets stood at $14 million.
During my early years at the Federation, in addition to being the Endowment Director, I also functioned as the Young Leadership Director and Men’s Annual Campaign Director, which enabled me to work with a wide range of community members. It is gratifying to see some of the graduates of the Federation Young Leadership program from that time period now in significant community leadership roles.
One of the highlights of my career was the successful completion of the Our Vision Our Promise Our Legacy centennial endowment development campaign. With the leadership of Chuck Cohen and Federation staff and the dedication of our community, we were able to reach our goal of $100 million in commitments and current assets by our centennial year of 2005.
Today our assets total $100 million including our general endowment fund, donor advised funds, permanent restricted and unrestricted funds, charitable gift annuities, and life insurance policies, as well as agency and non-agency custodial funds. Perpetual annual campaign endowment funds will provide the foundation for future annual campaigns. Our endowment funds will fund academic, travel, and Jewish camp scholarships and provide funding for new and innovative programs and services. Our unrestricted funds will enable the community to meet crises and opportunities.
Over 27 years, I’ve seen that we will be able to continue to go from strength to strength thanks to the dedication and commitment of our community members. Future generations of the Indianapolis Jewish community will be able to flourish through the tzedakah of the people who give today.
I look forward to the next phase of my life with hope, anticipation, and excitement. As I start down this new path, I am reassured knowing that I helped craft the legacy of our Jewish community. I gained insight into family stories, values, and motivations. It has been an exciting, engaging, elevating experience to learn to work for the communal good.
We have a wonderful, vibrant Jewish community that will continue to grow and thrive because of the professionals and community members. The future is in our hands, and I look forward to experiencing it with our children and grandchildren for whom we have planted the financial seeds.
--Winnie Goldblatt, Endowment Director