Categorized | San Diego County

Jewish Community Foundation celebrates 50 years


From Left, U.S. Rep. Scott Peters and U.S. Rep. Susan Davis; Beth Sirull, and Leo Spiegel with congressional plaque at Jewish Community Foundation brunch.


Comedian Carol Leifer

SAN DIEGO  (Press Release)- Marking its 50th anniversary, the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego announced the launch of several innovative initiatives that will propel the region’s oldest and second largest community foundation forward.

“As we look to the next 50 years, we will continue to offer the high level of personal service that is our hallmark, while also providing new, cutting edge products that will ensure greater impact,” said Beth Sirull, the new CEO of the organization. “One of our goals is to engage with the next generation of philanthropists, who have a fresh perspective about how they want to make a difference in our world.”

The Foundation celebrated its half century of service Sunday with a $100-per-person brunch at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines with over 400 attendees and guest speaker Carol Leifer,  comedian and producer.

Leifer described how her Jewish values informed her of who she was back then and who she is moving forward. This is her 40th year working in comedy, and she credited her parents for supporting her dream to become a comedian.

“The leadership of the Jewish Community Foundation and the contributions made by donors over the last 50 years have added significantly to the fabric of San Diego and beyond,” said Past Board Chair Jeff Silberman. “As we reflect on the past, we want to empower our younger generations to help build a continued legacy of philanthropy and leadership.”

In other highlights of the luncheon, Sirull recognized past Board Chairs and the current Chair Leo Spiegel, and discussed the JCF vision moving forward.

Among attendees of the JCF brunch were Irwin and Joan Jacobs, City Councilwoman Barbara Bry, Elaine Galinson, and Herbert Solomon.

Beginning this past summer, the Foundation provided donors an opportunity to invest their philanthropic funds in an Impact Investing Pool, which invests funds to create a social or environmental impact alongside a financial return on the investment. This pool is the first of its kind for any national Jewish-affiliated organization.

In addition, the Foundation’s Jewish Teen Foundation, a national model for engaging with youth, will expand its programs this year. The organization encourages teenage students to learn about philanthropic giving, about ways to make an impact in their community, and how to be smart about donating to specific causes.

The Jewish Community Foundation will also offer a variety of interesting ways for donors and prospective donors of all ages to engage with each other and with organizations to get educated and be inspired to give. Opportunities for engagement include behind-the-scenes exclusive site visits to interact with local grantees, networking events with like-minded community members, to roundtables with experts and access to giving and investing circles.

Sirull, who started at the Foundation in March, brings experience implementing innovative strategies for giving and investing for impact. As CEO of the Bay Area social enterprise Pacific Community Ventures, she pioneered a program of social impact investing that was expanded nationally.

The Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego is rated at the highest level as a Four-Star charity (Charity Navigator) and has distributed over $1 billion in grants given to both secular and Jewish causes.

More than 4,000 organizations have benefited from grants facilitated by the Foundation in to the arts, health and education, to social service and Jewish causes. The organization continues to make an impact in ways that align with Jewish values, consistent with many faith-based traditions, and has effectively helped to sustain the vibrancy of the Jewish and general community in San Diego and around the world.

“As the oldest Foundation in San Diego, we have engaged with hundreds of committed donors of incredibly diverse backgrounds and at so many levels,” said Leo Spiegel, incoming chair of the Board of Directors. “With 50 years of history, our story is just beginning, and we look forward to what the future holds.”

Preceding provided by the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego.

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