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Celebrating the Many Accomplishments of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba

by Rhonda Spivak, January 10, 2018


The Jewish Foundation of Manitoba (JFM)can be proud of its many accomplishments--which are too many to list, but I will endeavour to review a sample of them. I thought it was an opportune moment to do this as we welcome Tara Fainstein as new CEO of the JFM, and at the same time thank outgoing CEO Marsha Cowan for her many outstanding acheivments, her strategic vision,  and her enduring commitment to the long-term survival of our community. The significant growth of the JFM during Marsha's  13 year tenure as CEO is a true testament to her leadership, and her dedicated efforts on behalf of our community. To see my recent interview with Marsha Cowan, please click here. (Cowan will  be staying on at the JFM where she will continue working directly with some of its fundholders ).
Turning to the many accomplishments of the JFM, let's begin with the fact that at its 50th Anniversary garden party celebration, the JFM announced that its asset base surpassed $100 million. Today that asset base stands at about $113,000 million  and in 2016, for example, it distributed 3.6 million. The JFM is required to distribute three and a half per cent of its total endowment but is currently distributing four percent.
Another significant accomplishment is the very successful Endowment Book of Life Program which has reached over 800 participants, no small feat for a community our size.
Another significant accomplishment is the FundMatch program, which was launched in 2012. It is an initiative designed to entice Jewish organizations to grow their endowment funds according to their capacity. When certain benchmarks are reached, the FundMatch framework provides an additional contribution to the organizational endowment fund. This in turn generates even more income to this organization.( For example, an endowment that reaches the first benchmark of $54,000 from one or more donors will see the JFM match that amount with an additional $18,000.) Fundmatch is a way for organizations to save for the future and the program has been very successful with  Jewish organizations participating in it.
Another significant accomplishment is the BERVIN initiative, which provides an incentive to Jewish organizations to grow their endowment funds. As the  2015 JFM Annual Report explains, "BERVIN is funded by the Berdie & Irvin Cohen (BERVIN) Organizational Endowment Incentive Fund, which donated $1 million to this initiative.  The $1 million endowment, honouring the memory of Berdie and Irvin Cohen, provides an opportunity for Jewish organizations in the province to build their endowments to enhance their financial security over the long term ...When a participating Winnipeg Jewish organization adds $720,000 dollars 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 – this withdrawal cannot exceed 50% of the original $1 million."
As of now there are 11 Jewish organizations that have signed up for the Incentive Programs FundMatch and  BERVIN Incentive Programs.
Another significant accomplishment is  the establishment of the Jewish Community Campership Fund which helps our community's summer residential and day camps subsidize campers whose families cannot afford the full cost of attendance. It is my  hope that in the future this important fund meets its goal of $2 million since research is abundantly clear that Jewish campers feel a closer connection to Jewish life and heritage, and thus,sending  Jewish children to summer camps is  crucial in terms of Jewish continuity for our community. As of December 1st, 2017, the Jewish Community Campership Fund balance was $747,300,so there is still  a fair ways to go to meet its goal of $2 million, but I am  confident that this can be accomplished by our great community.
The  JFM can take great pride in its Women's Endowment Fund which in 2012 sur
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.