Local Jewish agencies agree to merge

Ken Jacobs and Sue Nussbaum

Ken Jacobs and Sue Nussbaum

The boards of directors for the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville and the Jewish Community Foundation of Northeast Florida unanimously approved the merger of the two organizations at separate meetings in December 2017.

The Federation was established in 1939 as a fundraising organization to support the local and global Jewish community. Alan Margolies has been executive director since 1990, and Ken Jacobs was elected president for a two-year term in June 2017.

“When it was determined [in 1996] to begin a planned giving program for our Jewish community and to do this as a partnership for the Federation, its major local recipient agencies and the synagogues, it was determined that the best way to proceed was to establish a separate organization,” said Margolies.

The Foundation was established in 1996 to help donors develop charitable giving plans and to ensure synagogues and Jewish agencies would exist to provide future generations with the Jewish heritage and traditions.

It was funded in the beginning by the Federation, providing perhaps 50 percent of the funding and the other partners providing together 50 percent, according to Margolies. Currently, there are approximately 100 funds; 30 are permanent and the balance are Donor Advised Funds, he said.

Sue Nussbaum has served as the foundation president of the board of trustees since 2015, and Laura Thompson has been interim executive director since July 2016, following the departure of Jeff Klein, when he took a position with a similar foundation in Boca Raton in January 2017.

“In December of 2016, a little more than a year ago, leadership of both organizations decided it was the right time to take a fresh look at what might be the best way, going forward, to be responsible for planned giving for the Jewish community,” said Margolies. “A number of models in other cities were explored and together it was determined that a merger would be in the best interest of the Jewish community.” 

With the merger, the Jewish Federation will take responsibility for planned giving, with the goal to build upon relationships with donors to the annual campaign and to do all they can to ensure the future of the Jewish community, according to Jacobs, in a message to readers of the Jacksonville Jewish News.

While conducting a search for a planned giving director, the Federation will establish a new Planned Giving Development Committee to work with the new director. Jean Brantley, of the Jewish Foundation, has joined the Federation staff during the search for a director of planned giving.

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