Jewish Community Foundation celebrates 50 years

The Jewish Community Foundation will celebrate 50 years — and $1.5 billion in grants — next month while also continuing to transform philanthropy in San Diego.

“We’re stopping to celebrate almost a billion and a half dollars in grants to charitable organizations,” said Beth Sirull, president and chief executive officer. “We have quite a history, but we’re not resting on our laurels.”

The celebration is scheduled for Nov. 12, when donors, past foundation officers and nonprofit leaders will gather for a special brunch at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines.

Beth Sirull

Sirull said the foundation is constantly evolving, adopting new technology, testing a new impact investing pool and working to attract Millennials. But the mission remains helping donors “change the world in the ways that really matter to them.”

The foundation manages over $300 million in funds, investing that money while also helping donors make gifts to achieve their philanthropic goals.

“We have two really core beliefs. One is in the power of every individual to change the world. A second core belief is the innate value of Jewish tradition,” she said.

The San Diego Jewish Community Foundation is the first among Jewish organizations nationwide to offer an impact investing pool. This will allow donors to invest in socially responsible organizations and companies, while potentially creating a return. The pool is being seeded with $2 million.

“You’re getting the capital back and you’re doing good,” explained Sirull. “Millennials really care about that. And we’re hoping to tap into that caring.”

In addition to the new impact investing pool, the foundation’s Jewish Teen Foundation, a national model for engaging with youth, will expand its programs this year. The organization encourages teenage students to learn about philanthropic giving, ways to make an impact in their community, and how to be smart about donating to specific causes.

The foundation has become the largest philanthropic grantor in San Diego. “Our number one job is helping people give money away,” Sirull said.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.