Timeline of Key Events in JCF History
In 1972, long-time volunteers and pillars of the Jewish community, Neal Kurn and Irv Pearlstein, co-chair a committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix to explore the formation of an endowment fund, which evolves over the years into the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix.
On December 13, 1972, as a committee of the Jewish Federation, these community leaders establish the Endowment Fund: “The Endowment Fund is a trust for the receipt and distribution of charitable funds, serving donors and charitable organizations alike. It operates totally apart from the annual United Jewish Welfare Campaign. For people wishing to benefit the community, either during the lifetime or after death, the Endowment Fund offers a way to make gifts as responsive as possible to continually changing needs.”
Trustees of the Endowment Fund in its inaugural year include: Irv Pearlstein, chair; Ronald Bookbinder; Milt Corwin; Bertha Goldman; Albert Horwitch; Jarril Kaplan; Neal Kurn; Saul Lebeau; Leon Levitz; I. Harrison Levy; Seymour Levy; David Rich; Naomi Wagner Rubinstein; Harold Shapiro; Warren Silver; Saul Silverman; Harry Steinhart; Samuel Shapiro; Yale Simons; Arnold Smith; Arthur Spitz; Bert Trobman; and Morris Turken.
Neal Kurn serves twice as board chair. He continues to this day as an honorary board member and trusted advisor to the Foundation.
JCF hires first full-time director in 1986 as the Endowment Fund’s assets under management grow to exceed $5,000,000.
JCF hosts first community-wide annual Tax and Legal Seminar in 1993 with sponsors including Fennemore Craig law firm, Price Waterhouse accountants, Harris Trust Bank, Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company. The program expands in 2001 through a partnership with the Arizona Community Foundation. Since its inception, the Tax and Legal Seminar has earned a reputation as one of the highest quality continuing education offerings in the region. Each year hundreds of lawyers, accountants, investment managers, bankers, and other professional advisors participate.
In 1994, the Foundation receives a transformational gift of $1 million from Harold and Jean Grossman to establish the Harold and Jean Grossman Israel Experience Fund, which provides scholarships for Jewish teens in Greater Phoenix to experience Israel as a key part of their Jewish identity and education.
The Grossmans later cement their legacy in the Phoenix Jewish community by gifting millions more in permanent endowment funds to the Jewish Community Foundation.
Jewish Community Foundation reaches a major milestone with assets under management exceeding $15 million in 1996.
In 1998, the Jewish Community Foundation launches its Endowment Book of Life program, honoring those in our community who have made a commitment to create a permanent endowment fund at the Jewish Community Foundation, either during their lifetimes or from their estates. Nearly 400 individuals have signed, publicly sharing their values, visions, and histories, and declaring their support for and belief in the future of this Jewish community.
Phyllis and Leonard Friedel create a $2 million combined permanent endowment for the benefit of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, the largest known contribution to a Jewish organization in the Valley at the time.
The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix independently incorporates in 2002, becoming a free-standing agency, but maintaining its long-standing connection to the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. The separation enhances the Foundation’s ability to protect its growing asset base, and to provide independent, objective philanthropic services to the region’s expanding number of Jewish organizations, agencies, synagogues and day schools, as well as the rapidly growing local Jewish population at-large.
The Jewish Community Foundation’s B’nai Tzedek Youth Philanthropy program launches in 2005, teaching adolescents the power of philanthropy. The program shows young people that that they have the power to make change in the world through a personal and engaged relationship to lifelong giving.
In partnership with 46 local Jewish organizations, the Jewish Community Foundation presents The Jewish Community Conversation. This unique program was conceived by the Foundation as an opportunity to give Jews throughout the Valley a chance to share their hopes, dreams and aspirations about the Jewish community they would like to see. Nearly 350 individuals gathered at Arizona State University for a spirited and highly interactive day of discussion, conversation and visioning. An 18 month-long process followed, involving more than 60 expert professionals and volunteer community leaders, which resulted in a first-of-its-kind report on recommendations for to enrich and enhance the quality of Jewish life in the Valley of the Sun.
The Jewish Community Foundation is selected to partner with and host the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s LIFE & LEGACY program for the Greater Phoenix Jewish community. By implementing LIFE & LEGACY, the local community stands poised to join 14 other communities that secured an estimated $133 million in end-of-life commitments to 183 Jewish organizations across the country in the first two years of the program. Twelve synagogues, day schools and other Jewish organizations are selected as JCF’s local partners in the program, to receive training, support, motivation and cash incentives, in order to secure their own financial futures through LIFE & LEGACY.