Do You Have to be a Millionaire to Set Up a Fund?

The Post Gazette printed an insert magazine on Thursday titled, “In the Lead”.  While nearly all of it is dedicated to the private and public businesses of our region, one page talked about nonprofits.  On that page, there is a list of “Top Foundations”.  This list is not ordered by asset size, but by the amount of grants handed out in 2014.  Ranked eighth is the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh with $17.1 Million distributed.  This is a tremendous amount of money and it comes from over 1,100 funds including those held and controlled by synagogues and Jewish agencies.

The ability to distribute such a remarkable amount of money is due to two main factors.  First, we have been able to produce a strong return on the investment of those assets as we benchmark ourselves to other Foundations our size (actually, our Investment Committee met just this past week to review our returns).  The second is that more and more people are establishing funds in our Foundation to achieve their philanthropic goals.

Do you have to be a millionaire or multi-millionaire to set up a fund?  No.  A fund can be established with a minimum of $5,000.  Those funds can be financed with cash, appreciated stock and business interests or through sophisticated estate planning and charitable trusts that can be used to minimize taxes and maximize giving to philanthropy.  Our Foundation Staff are experienced lawyers and estate planners and they would be happy to speak confidentially with you about how you can leave a legacy to your synagogue, Jewish agency and especially the Federation, or even how to centralize and systematize your philanthropy .   Feel free to be in touch with our Foundation Director, Dan Brandeis ( or our Associate Foundation Director, Sharon Perelman (    As we hear on tv ads for many companies, there is no cost for the call or email!

I appreciate the fact that the list of Foundations is printed in descending dollar order by the amount of grants provided versus the corpus of each Foundation.  Yes, we have $225 Million under management, but that is not so important.  The $17.1 Million that is distributed is the real story because those dollars relate directly to impact in our community.

Shabbat Shalom.

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