In less than 8 years, LIFE & LEGACY has motivated more than 17,000 donors in 63 communities across North America to commit more than a billion dollars in current and after-lifetime assets to the Jewish organizations which shaped their lives. Eileen Freed, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, was instrumental in applying to be part of this program, and said that, “Through the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor’s planned giving arm, which is the Jewish Community Foundation, our community was able to secure funding to work with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s LIFE & LEGACY initiative, the goal of which is to provide financial stability.” The Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) is matching the investment made by Federation to offer training, support, resources, communal marketing and monetary incentives to participating organizations.

In challenging times like these, endowments provide organizations with the financial stability to meet evolving needs. Legacy commitments ensure that organizations are providing impactful programs and services during both calm and turbulent moments, and they these organizations have the necessary resources to adapt.

“Providing Jewish organizations with a strategy to help secure their long-term financial goals is absolutely vital, especially now in the middle of an economic crisis,” said Harold Grinspoon, founder of HGF. “Supporting our Jewish institutions is critical in ensuring future generations are able to enjoy our rich culture and heritage. I am thrilled that LIFE & LEGACY is motivating donors to make legacy commitments that will sustain vibrant Jewish communities for years to come.”

In June 2020, HGF released a White Paper titled $1Billion in Legacy Commitments: An Effective Strategy to Build Your Endowment” upon achieving the $1 Billion mark. The White Paper says in part, “This is the ideal time to establish a new endowment or promote commitments to an existing endowment.  According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Baby Boomers are in the process of transferring an estimated $8.8 trillion by 2027, and the pandemic has ignited a surge in estate planning.”

The White Paper also addresses the social connections the program brings to communities. “The initiative brings together organizations that previously saw each other as competitors.  They become trusted partners who cooperate, share resources, learn from, support and celebrate one another.” The community partners participating are: Ann Arbor Orthodox Minyan, Beth Israel Congregation, Chabad, Eastern Michigan University Center for Judaic Studies, Hebrew Day School, Jewish Community Center of Ann Arbor, Jewish Cultural Society, Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County, Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, Temple Beth Emeth and University of Michigan Hillel.

The 11 local organizations will be reaching out to donors and community members whose lives have been impacted by the organizations they love, inviting them to sign a “Letter of Intent” indicating their commitment to leave an after-lifetime gift to build an endowment and help the organizations secure their financial future. Once these groups meet certain goals, they earn incentive grants that are unrestricted dollars to be used however needed.

LIFE & LEGACY is an initiative of HGF that assists communities across North America, through partnerships with Jewish Federations and Foundations, to promote after-lifetime giving to build endowments that will sustain valued organizations and vibrant Jewish communities for the next generation and beyond. Through training, support and monetary incentives, LIFE & LEGACY inspires Jewish organizations to secure legacy gifts, steward donors, and integrate legacy giving into the philanthropic culture of the local Jewish community.

For those interested in making a legacy gift, reading the entire White Paper, or seeking more information about LIFE & LEGACY, contact Margaret Schreiber, LIFE & LEGACY Coordinator for Ann Arbor at 734-773-3538 or