TJF participates in national LIFE & LEGACY™ conference

by | Jun 22, 2018 | Other News

In early June, I had the pleasure of joining Lawrence Steingold, Tidewater Jewish Foundation’s incoming board chair, as well as Scott Kaplan, TJF president and CEO, and Sallie Williams, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s marketing director, along with colleagues from across the country in Springfield, Mass., for the 2018 LIFE & LEGACY ™ Leadership Gathering.

The conference, organized by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF), is aimed at building skills, sharing best practices, and providing opportunities for networking to create sustainable legacy-giving programs in their local communities.

Learning alongside colleagues and lay leaders from 52 participating communities was inspiring and enlightening. We were able to return home with some great ideas to help our synagogues and agencies become even more successful in securing their future. While I participate in monthly training phone calls with colleagues throughout the year, getting to know them at the conference deepens the relationship and makes it comfortable for us to call each other for suggestions and advice.

The conferenced featured several notable speakers and sessions. One of the keynotes, Rabbi Daniel Cohen, author of What Will They Say About You When You’re Gone, spoke about reverse engineering your life so that you live the way you want to be remembered. He asked us to think about what we would want on our tombstones if we were limited to just five words, and he offered concrete steps to live as your best self.

Another highlight was when Harold Grinspoon and his daughter-in-law and president of the HGF, Winnie Grinspoon, addressed us at lunch with an update on the work of the Foundation, including PJ Library, JCamp 180 and Voices & Visions. We participated in a light-hearted, but meaningful question and answer session and gained a better understanding of Harold Grinspoon, where his passion lies, and how he has managed to leverage his philanthropic gifts with great impact.

Other sessions focused on the importance of planned giving to secure the future of our Jewish community, and the mechanics of successful LIFE & LEGACY ™ programs. I participated as a panelist in one of the sessions for other LIFE & LEGACY ™ professionals, to speak about how we have implemented the program. TJF’s program was recognized again when our LIFE & LEGACY ™ video was one of three videos shown at the conference. It was very exciting to see our community on the screen and it was fun to see how positively everyone reacted to it.

The annual conference has no registration fee. I hope that more members of the Tidewater Jewish community will attend in the future to learn and be inspired to think about their legacy and how they want to be remembered.

LIFE & LEGACY ™ is a four-year partnership program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that assists communities across North America, through partnerships with Jewish federations and foundations, to promote after-lifetime giving to benefit Jewish day schools, synagogues, social service organizations, and other Jewish entities. In the 18 months since it launched, the Tidewater LIFE & LEGACY ™ program has secured 278 future financial gifts amounting to more than $9.7 million. For more information, contact Barb Gelb at

– Barb Gelb