I learned Federation at the Dining Room table. I returned to this community from Law School in 1962. In 1963 my father was the Federation Campaign Chairman. Toward the end of the 1960s he became Federation President and my mother was Women’s Division Campaign Chairman and then Women’s Division President. While I was growing up and then after I returned, dinner conversation was often about the Federation, its goals, its operations, its campaign, and the individuals involved in all of this.
Needless to say, I soon became involved with Federation. I attended a Young Leadership Program (run by Clive Klatzkin and Dick Kohn) and became active. For some reason, I was never involved with any of the agencies (we called them subventions then) and, instead, wound up on the Federation Board. In 1974, I became President of the Federation.
This Foundation was formed in 1963, the year my father was Campaign Chairman, and he was one of the original Trustees and, again, I learned about Foundation at the dining room table. In 1976 my father retired from the Foundation Board and I was elected a Trustee. In 1983, I became Secretary and have been such ever since, except for the two years I was President.
According to Milton Feinberg’s book A History of the Jewish Federation of Greater Trenton, “The continuing expansion of local services necessitated the creation of a special Federation fund in the form of a foundation to meet unanticipated fiscal crises in the agencies and to supplement existing capital building assets.” At the time we started we were one of only 20 Jewish foundations in this country. The Trustees were elected by the Federation Board and we functioned as an adjunct of Federation. In fact, in most Jewish communities the foundation was a committee of the federation. We were one of the minority of communities where the foundation is a separate legal entity.
We went along for many years acting as an arm of Federation, supporting it and the agencies. In fact, it was not until 1985 that we got our first Donor Advised Fund. For many years we had no Executive Director or staff and I handled many of the Foundation’s administrative requirements from my office.
Before the Federation merged with the Princeton UJA the Foundation was restructured so the Board became self perpetuating, in that it elected the Trustees.
The last of the old guard leaders, Clive Klatzkin, left the Presidency of the Foundation in 2007. As I told Clive when I spoke to him in January, one of the best things he ever did for the community was to get Florence Kahn to serve as President. She and she alone has forced the Foundation to rethink what we are and what we should be doing. Those of you who were here can remember Florence and I locking horns over where the Foundation was going and what it should be.
Then along came Life & Legacy. I now feel very comfortable over where we are going. Our community is changing. When I started, the Federation was the deficit financing source for the agencies; we reviewed each agency’s budget every year and the Federation would fund any shortage between what the agency could raise and what it needed for its operations. With changes in agencies and patterns of giving this has not been possible for some time and the Annual Campaign is raising less and less of what the agencies need. Through our programs of legacies and endowments the Foundation can help the agencies survive and prosper in the future.
I was taught by my parents to serve, build, and strengthen my community and feel that through the Foundation I am doing so.