There are many benefits of donating to a charitable organization. However, none may be more significant than the feeling of helping others and making the world a better place, various sources say.
Fortunately, Columbus has no shortage of philanthropic groups for donors to support, including JewishColumbus and Jewish Family Services.
One organization that sets the table for donors to give to meaningful causes is JewishColumbus.
“We lead a $6 (million), and growing, annual campaign that provides annual support to Jewish agencies, synagogues and organizations – in Columbus, Israel and overseas,” Jessica Grisez, director of planned giving and major gifts at JewishColumbus, wrote in an email. “Campaign contributions are made by cash, check, credit card, appreciated securities and even by endowments, wills, estates, retirement accounts and insurance policies.”
JewishColumbus is also home to the Columbus Jewish Foundation, a community foundation that serves as the headquarters for a great deal of planned giving and endowments.
“Our staff of advisers work with community members to connect their interests to community needs, near and far, both secular and non-secular,” Grisez wrote of the foundation. “We manage individual donor advised funds, which serve as charitable checking accounts, a convenient way to track all your giving in one place. We also manage special purpose funds, endowments, deferred income plans, insurance policies, estate planning and more to meet your philanthropic and financial goals.”
In addition, JewishColumbus works with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to host the LIFE & LEGACY program, a campaign to build endowments to work toward a Jewish future in Columbus, Grisez said. There are currently 18 different organizations participating in the effort to raise funds.
“There are many benefits to charitable giving, including scientific, emotional and strategic,” Grisez wrote. “There is no better feeling than the feel-good feeling of gifting to others or seeing the impact of your own or your family’s charity. This is actually a scientific reaction, a dopamine rush. People give to the causes and people they care most about.”
Jewish Family Services
JewishColumbus isn’t the only Jewish charity in the Columbus area making a difference through philanthropy. Another prime example is Jewish Family Services, which aims to help Columbus residents live productive and financially stable lives.
“Jewish Family Services works to help all people in Columbus be self-sufficient and productive citizens of our community,” wrote Rachel Bloomekatz, a member of the board of directors of JFS and chair of its resource development committee, in an email. “Whether you are a young person searching for your first job, a refugee who recently arrived in the area, or a corporate executive who was downsized, Jewish Family Services is there to help you succeed in the workforce.”
Diana Schrimpf, director of resource development at JFS, added, “At Jewish Family Services, our mission is to help individuals and families achieve financial sufficiency and emotional stability. We have career counselors who are working with clients to identify their strengths and helping them find positions where the job has a family-sustaining wage, and it meets their interests and their skill sets.”
Schrimpf said some of the services provided by these counselors include resume building, help with LinkedIn profiles and brushing up on interviewing skills.
While employment is typically necessary to keep one’s family financially stable, this stability cannot be found without first having a comfortable living situation, Schrimpf said. JFS assists job seekers with these types of resources as well, including addressing food insecurity, utilities, rent, child care and mental health issues, among others.
The organization’s support extends to senior citizens, she added.
“We have a lot of senior services that we provide, and some of those seniors are Holocaust survivors,” she said. “(We help) them age with dignity, remain in their home –
if that’s what they want to do as they age – and help with isolation. (We have) programming where they get to interact with other people, and obviously COVID-19 changed what that looked like. It used to be in person, and now it’s been virtual activities. ... We have volunteers who help them get to the grocery store and go to doctor’s appointments. So really, all the things to help seniors as they’re aging to get their needs met.”
No matter who they are working with, the leaders of JFS feel a need to serve their community, and they take great pride in this commitment, Bloomekatz explained.
“Jewish Family Services serves as a proud ambassador between the Columbus Jewish community and the diverse array of communities in the Columbus areas,” Bloomekatz wrote. “We serve not only Holocaust survivors and other Jews in need, but neighbors of all races, faiths, sexual orientations, backgrounds and identities. ... It’s up to us as a new generation of Jewish leaders to make this organization not just survive, but thrive.”
Ben Blotner is a freelance writer from Columbus.