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The Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future

  • What is the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future?

    The Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future (CFJF) is an endowment within the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh's Jewish Community Foundation that provides immediate and ongoing funding to make quality Jewish learning and experiences available to everyone. CFJF is the most significant planned giving undertaking in the history of the Pittsburgh Jewish community. The CFJF supports a broad range of programs that instill a strong Jewish identity among participants and a desire to pass the love of Judaism on to the next generation.

  • Why does a need exist for the CFJF?

    CFJF seeks no less than to transform our community into one in which learning, participation, and strong identity is the rule rather than the exception by:

    • Increasing involvement in Jewish life and community
    • Recognizing the importance of quality programs and depth of Jewish experiences
    • Reaching out to families and individuals at critical times in their lives, when they are making the choice to seek out the Jewish community as a resource—or go elsewhere
    • Helping families overcome the high cost of living Jewishly

    Numerous studies and statistics reinforce the fact that Jewish identity is continuing to decline at an alarming rate in our culturally assimilated society. Coupled with cultural assimilation is the high cost of being Jewish. Money spent on other interests, or lack of funds, explains why Some Jews are choosing to become less affiliated with their Jewish heritage. For the large segment of the Jewish population that views cost as a barrier to connecting with Jewish identity, we need to find ways to help lower expenses and convey the high value of Jewish living. 

  • What are the CFJF’s objectives?

    Countless studies and experts all point to Jewish engagement through formal and informal education, Jewish camping and Israel travel as the proven pathway to ensuring the strength of Judaism for generations to come. These experiences have a tremendous impact on the attitudes Jews form and the life decisions they make. In short, Jewish engagement leads to Jewish commitment.

    This campaign is designed to achieve the objective of lowering the cost of being Jewish and it will be transformational for our community, as it creates a multitude of endowments for the benefit of our local agencies, schools and synagogues all focused on the specific mission of sustaining a thriving Pittsburgh Jewish community for future generations.

  • What are the fundraising goals of CFJF?

    As of April 2011, CFJF founders have exceeded the goal of raising $12 million in 12 months, by obtaining more than $14 million in commitments. This is just the beginning. With your help, we can realize the vision of a vibrant, thriving Pittsburgh community, of committed Jews who actively participate in Jewish programs and experiences and possess a strong desire to pass the love of Judaism on to our children and grandchildren.

  • Who created the CFJF?

    Pittsburgh community leaders established the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future (CFJF) through the realization that engagement in quality experiences is the most effective catalyst for building and sustaining a vibrant and dynamic Jewish community.

    In a new innovation for Pittsburgh, the CFJF lead gift will not only match major contributions from top donors, which are payable over five years, but immediately advance the amount of the entire lead donation so that an impact can be made quickly.

  • Who is leading the CFJF and who will be asked to contribute?

    The CFJF is the primary community priority of the Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.  The entire community will be engaged in this effort, including the Federation Board of Directors, the boards and professional leadership of every Jewish agency and the congregations.

  • Why are we embarking upon this campaign?

    The CFJF vision is that of a vibrant, thriving Pittsburgh community of committed Jews who actively participate in Jewish programs and experiences and possess a strong desire to pass the love of Judaism on to our children and grandchildren.

  • What programs will CFJF fund?

    CFJF provides immediate and ongoing funding for important activities and innovative programs to build knowledge of, and connection to our rich heritage and traditions. Initially we are focusing in the areas of Jewish education, Israel travel and Jewish summer camping.

  • Will I be asked to make a pledge to the campaign in addition to my annual contribution?

    Yes. The CFJF is an endowment campaign separate and distinct from the Jewish Federation's Annual Campaign. Commitments to the CFJF are intended to be supplemental to Annual Campaign commitments. While the Annual effort provides funding to ensure that important services and programs are offered to respond to current needs, the CFJF will help ensure a strong and vibrant Jewish community for the future.

  • Won’t this campaign compete with current or future endowment campaigns of the agencies?

    No. in fact, CFJF will augment the fundraising of the agencies. CFJF donors may designate their endowment gifts to one or more agencies, or may fund their agency gifts through CFJF, as long as the purpose of the gift is consistent with CFJF's initial areas of focus: Jewish education, Israel travel and Jewish summer camping.

  • What is an endowment fund and why is CFJF an endowment?

    An endowment is a fund that provides a permanent source of present and future income. The assets contributed to the fund are invested and the corpus is left intact; a fixed percentage of the fund's value is used for immediate purposes. While other funds that support the community are variable, an endowment still grows when the economy is robust, but can maintain its giving even when the economy is weaker.

  • What is special about endowment fundraising?

    Endowments can be funded with current gifts and/or planned gift. They also ensure donors that programs or agencies that are important to them will have perpetual income. In addition, endowments leave a lasting legacy.

  • How much will I be asked to give?

    Only you can decide what gift is right for you.  A figure may be suggested to help guide your decision. Because the CFJF has such an ambitious reach, donors are being asked to transfer an asset rather than give from income.

  • Is my contribution tax deductible?

    Yes. Tax implications for life-income gifts and planned gifts will be calculated for each donor.

  • What are the opportunities for recognition of my gift?

    All contributions to the CFJF will be recognized in the Federation's annual report and by the designated beneficiary, if applicable. Donors of $100,000 and greater will receive recognition in the Foundation's Creators of Vision Society. Donors of $250,000 and greater will be recognized in the Founders Society.

  • Who will know how much I pledge?

    Gifts will be acknowledged by broad categories and the Federation assures any donor who seeks anonymity that his/her request will be honored.

  • Can I designate my commitment for a specific use?

    Yes, you have the option to designate your commitment to an agency or program that improves either the quality of, or the access to, Jewish learning, Jewish camping and/or Israel travel. To date, funds have been designated for the Jewish Community Center, The Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center, the Agency for Jewish Learning, Community Day School, Hillel Academy, Yeshiva Schools, Rodef Shalom, Temple Sinai and the Kollel Jewish Learning Center.

  • Why is the campaign asking for five-year pledges rather than a one-time gift?

    Endowment campaigns are intended to secure the future while annual campaigns provide for current needs.  Leaving a permanent legacy provides donors with the opportunity to make a more significant gift, and a contribution is easier to pay off over a period of time rather than out of pocket.

  • If my situation changes, may I change the terms of my pledge?

    Yes. The Federation views a pledge as a voluntary commitment that can be adjusted if necessary. A binding gift agreement protects the donor: if a donor dies before a pledge has been fully funded, and if the heirs of the donor choose to fulfill the balance, they do so with pre-estate tax dollars if there is a signed pledge commitment.

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"Many of the most important issues that Jews think about, often obsessively, are expressed in Jewish humor."

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Humor: What the Best Jewish Jokes Say About the Jews