RJF – Quiet by Design
Richmond Jewish Foundation might possibly be the leanest and least exciting Jewish organization in town. But guess what? We’re proud of that.
We don’t operate a state-of-the-art health and wellness facility like the Weinstein JCC. We don’t provide a warm, inviting sanctuary like any of the synagogues. Nor do we offer high-quality Jewish education like RTA.
In fact, our entire office contents and workspace could probably fit in your living room, and you can count the number of vendors we work with on one hand.
But to us, being thrifty and unexciting is a good thing. It just means we can focus more on what we do best—supporting the community with financial resources, thanks to decades of generous donors. As a result, our funding and investing processes are tried and true.
For example, our quarterly grants cycles have been in place for a decade enabling community organizations to apply for financial awards primarily for new and innovative programming. During the 2017 fiscal year, RJF provided approximately $3.8 million to organizations that serve our local Jewish and secular community out of a total of $4 million distributed during the year.
Our grants procedure is rather plain and simple, but effective: Organizations complete an application and submit it to our grants committee. A volunteer grants committee, chaired by Ruth Greene, reviews the applications and determines how much funding, if any, to provide to each grant request. The RJF Board of Directors reviews the awards and twice a month we send checks to the deserving organizations.
Exciting process? No, but the results are inspiring, as we award tens of thousands of dollars each cycle. We also work closely with donors who often like to personally fund some of the grants. These donors helped provide an additional $50,000 in grants this past cycle.
At this point, perhaps you are wondering—where does money for our grants cycle come from? The funds come from three buckets: the RJF Genesis Fund, endowments created by donors over the past 36 years or from donor advised funds.
Meanwhile, our investments committee, chaired by Roger Leibowitz, provides oversight on how our over $35 million created from 250 funds are invested. This fiduciary oversight is in place to help ensure that our foundation can continue to grow and award grants for the next generation of Jewish Richmond.
This is all pretty tedious stuff to most people, indeed, but we are grateful for our donors’ generosity and our committee members’ contributions to help us fulfill our mission of supporting the community.
If you are interested in establishing a fund with RJF please contact us today. We are happy to show you how exciting the act of helping the community can really be.