Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Mercer

Life & Legacy

A program conceived by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and implemented locally by our Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Mercer. This collaborative effort is made up of area synagogues, agencies and other organizations to promote after-lifetime giving to sustain local Jewish institutions and our overall vibrant Jewish community.

Leading philanthropist Harold Grinspoon had grown increasingly concerned about the financial security of Jewish institutions throughout the country. He felt strongly that a robust endowment – built by legacy (or planned) gifts – would enable Jewish organizations to deliver quality programs to future generations without the pressures and constraints of raising annual contributed income. Through this effort, Jewish heritage and culture would be sustained in perpetuity. Based on a model already in practice by the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, Grinspoon developed the LIFE & LEGACY program providing four years of training, support and monetary incentives to select communities throughout North America. Following the initial four-years, Grinspoon envisioned that local communities would continue the important work of securing legacy gifts, stewarding donors and integrating legacy giving into its philanthropic culture.
Princeton, New Jersey was selected, along with six other communities across the country, to participate in the first cohort of LIFE & LEGACY. The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Mercer served as the administrator of the local program, providing an infrastructure, training and education, proven tools, clear deliverables, and ongoing support. This infrastructure set up the participating Jewish organizations for success by holding them accountable and by offering an experienced fundraising professional, the LIFE & LEGACY Coach, as a constant source of guidance, strategy, feedback and motivation. During this first phase of LIFE & LEGACY, 16 local Jewish organizations signed on to serve as “Partners” in the program. They represent synagogues of different Judaic denominations, agencies and educational institutions.

Following the conclusion of the initial four-year program, funded primarily by the Grinspoon Foundation, there was great enthusiasm among Partner organizations to continue LIFE & LEGACY. 15 Partners just concluded participation in Year 5. To date, 603 Promises (legacy commitments) have been received. These commitments are valued at an estimated $32 million in future gifts to our local Jewish institutions. Nearly 25 percent of all legacy donors have made a Promise to more than one Partner organization, reinforcing the value of this community-wide effort.

Why Make a Promise?

Creating your own Jewish legacy empowers you to further the work of your heart and to enjoy the peace of mind that it brings. By making a Promise to a LIFE & LEGACY Partner organization, you can:

  • Perpetuate the Jewish traditions and values you cherish
  • Preserve the programs and institutions that support Jewish life in our Greater Mercer area and around the world
  • Plan for your family’s philanthropic interests and enjoy tax advantages

Through your Promise, you will be remembered and your work and Jewish values will continue beyond your lifetime.