Monday, January 19, 2015


Here is the list of accomplishments claimed by JFNA's Planned Giving and Endowment Department since Joe Imberman took the professional reins there under the CJF "brand" as recited in Joe's "farewell missive" to the field:
  • the provision of basic and advanced gift planning and compliance services for all
  • the creation of a Bi-Annual Investment Institute and the beginning of a move to establish an investment office at JFNA
  • myriad training and continuing education opportunities for professionals and lay leaders including Endowment Leadership and Professionals Institutes, Senior Advisory council meetings etc.
  • collaboration with our Washington office on matters of legislation and tax policy affecting the field
  • the build out of the highly successful Create a Jewish Legacy model which has raised in excess of $500 million in future commitments
  • the creation of a highly successful Multi-Generational Family Philanthropy program in collaboration with 21/64 of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies
  • the creation of a National Jewish Federation Investment program as well as a national Charitable gift annuity program.
  • annual endowment surveys and corresponding health checks to assist communities in comparing peer performance
  • web based newsletters and Listservs to allow professionals and lay leaders to communicate and learn what the national system has available in this arena
  • development consultation for all on endowment topics
  • an innovative Social Venture Fund for Jewish Arab Equality and Shared Society which has distributed over $6 million since inception
  • a national endowment recognition program entitled Star of David which encompasses 1700 names
  • the management of our own JFNA Endowment fund which makes $2 million of grants per year supporting not only the annual campaign but individual community legacy and other development efforts
  • research on topics that impact endowment philanthropy in the system

I remember when Joe Imberman joined us to lead the professional effort -- he was a strong and respected federation professional who feared that UJA professional and lay leaders would interfere with his efforts to build a national and then continental endowment/planned giving effort. He probably won't remember that I assured him that he had nothing to fear...and he didn't. While many of the accomplishments on the list are due to Joe's creativity, many  of these were initiated by the federations and, as is appropriate, grown by Joe and his lay and professional team.

Joe Imberman just announced his retirement after guiding that endowment and planned giving effort from before the merger and then for the last 15 years within JFNA. Joe was a professional of great integrity while being very conservative in his approaches -- particularly so if he received push back from "the field" (even if it was but a small portion of that "field"). Over time Joe and I had some good discussions about the need for more aggressive leadership on issues that I knew were important to him and the system. Yes, I also remember that Joe proceeded with more than just professional caution -- especially when his federation professional advisory groups pushed back -- and resisted the integration of endowment and planned giving into what used to be campaign. Those were valuable learning lessons.

Joe Imberman's accomplishments for JFNA and to the field were many and he will be missed at a place where a superb professional's departure means the organization is further diminished. We wish him well as he joins an esteemed roster of former JFNA top pros who have moved into federation consultancy. 

May he go from strength-to-strength.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Question: why do we have to find out about these departures from the core of JFNA's professional staff (including Becky Sobelman-Stern's) from you while we hear nothing from JFNA itself? I know -- they are too busy.