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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


June 19, 2015  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Couple’s gift to food pantry will have lasting effect

(L-R) Bill Israel, Sally Israel and Jay Miller, Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services board chair, in front of the plaque naming the food pantry in the Israels’ honor. (L-R) Bill Israel, Sally Israel and Jay Miller, Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services board chair, in front of the plaque naming the food pantry in the Israels’ honor. After 36 years as a member of the Gulf Coast Jewish & Family Community Services board, Bill Israel decided to step down, but wanted to leave something to mark his legacy.

So he and his wife, Sally, have created an endowment to help keep the agency’s food pantry stocked.

The Israels had previously established a bequest to Gulf Coast, but recently decided to advance a portion of that bequest to make a current gift that would allow them to witness the benefit while they are still living. After discussions with Gulf Coast staff, the couple decided that advancing $25,000 of the bequest to the food pantry would best serve their wishes.

As a testament to Bill Israel’s tenure and to his family’s generous gift, the pantry has been renamed the “William and Sally Israel Food Pantry.”

“It doesn’t take a million dollars to create an impactful endowment,” said Bill Israel, “More than anything, it just takes heart and a desire to help. It is a Jewish thing to do in the spirit of tzedakah – a duty of justice and righteousness. Giving will make you feel good.”

The food pantry offers non-perishable items and limited household items. It serves approximately 2,000 families annually and is supported by community donations.

Struggling families are able to “shop” at the pantry or pick up school supplies for children. The service is provided by appointment.

The Israels’ endowment was created within the Tampa Orlando Pinellas (TOP) Jewish Foundation, and is among the first to be included in TOP’s new Life & Legacy program, an initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

“I’ve been working with TOP for years,” said Stuart Berger, vice president of development at Gulf Coast JFCS. “This Life & Legacy program could not have come at a better time. As our population ages, endowment and legacy gifts are even more crucial to ensure that the Jewish institutions that are important to us when we are alive have the funds they need to thrive when we are gone.”

He added that an endowment can be created through various planned giving options.

According to the Massachusettsbased Grinspoon Foundation, only 10 to 12 percent of Jewish donors designate charitable donations in their wills and estate planning. To change that, the foundation has launched the Life & Legacy program to encourage endowments by providing training and support to integrate legacy giving into the philanthropic culture of the Jewish community.

“Charitable giving is mostly a matter of motivation,” said Israel. “Not everyone has the means to give large gifts, but everyone can give something. Small legacy gifts to a charity from many givers will add up to provide a large benefit.”

An amateur genealogist, Israel said he learned this lesson from researching his grandfather’s life. In his grandfather’s 1930 will, he found that while the bulk of his estate went to his children, he made numerous small bequests to various charities and nieces and nephews still in Europe.

“Even with a modest estate you can leave 90 percent to your children, and they will not be terribly deprived if you give 10 percent to help others who need help,” he said. “What you do for yourself goes with you, but what you do for others will extend beyond your lifetime.”

For more information about the food pantry, contact Gail Allen at (727) 479-1806. For more information about TOP’s Life & Legacy program, contact TOP at (813) 961-9090.

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