JFS Foundation Fundholder Stories
The Star Endowment Fund for Children’s Mental Health Services
L’dor V’dor. From generation to generation. This common phrase in the Jewish community refers to continuity, to the responsibility of passing on spiritual knowledge and cultural traditions from generation to generation for the purpose of sustaining the customs, heritage, and collective memory of the Jewish people.
One such custom is that of tzedakah, or charitable giving. One of the highest forms of tzedakah is to give a gift, loan, or partnership that will result in the recipient becoming self-sufficient.
Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas (JFS) has been fortunate to have three generations of support from the Gutman-Star family. It’s remarkable that since JFS was founded in 1950, there has always been a Gutman-Star woman involved in making more possible for the individuals and families we serve.
We had the opportunity to speak with Meri-Kay Star, a volunteer and donor, whose mother and grandmother not only passed on the importance of tzedakah, but their love for JFS as well. She is the fundholder of The Star Endowment Fund for Children’s Mental Health Services, which was established in honor of her family.
Listen to the story of three generations of JFS giving now.
Ethel Silvergold Zale Food Pantry Fund
I was introduced to Tikkun Olan at an early age. I remember sitting at my mother’s side as she paid her monthly bills. She had a small stack of dollar bills and she let me put a dollar in a few envelopes that she chose. I asked her what the dollar bills were for. She told me that not everyone was as blessed as we were and the dollars were for those in need and children who might be hungry. My mother was a young widow with limited funds, and three young children to raise, but she taught me by example our moral duty to help the less fortunate. Her words guided me throughout my life.
Jewish Family Service offers a multitude of services that address the many challenges faced throughout a lifetime: from offering financial assistance to couples struggling with infertility, to mental health and social services for children and adults, through career and financial services, the Food Pantry to feed the hungry, to the needs of the aged, and finally Rabbinical and grief counseling. There are many more programs created to answer every need that Jewish Family Service is presented. The expanding range of diverse services that JFS addresses for all ages, faiths, and backgrounds convinced me that this was the agency for which I wanted to work and give my charity and time.
I have worked for Jewish Family Service as a volunteer for over 25 years. I founded the Woman to Woman luncheon and the Society of Life to raise much-needed funds for the work of Jewish Family Service. I am proud and grateful for the continued support and community awareness that these events have provided for JFS. I have been given the honor of becoming a lifetime member of the Board of Directors of JFS. On my 85th birthday, my children and grandchildren honored me by the establishment of the Ethel Silvergold Zale Food Pantry Fund through the Jewish Family Service Foundation.
I hope my service to Jewish Family Service has been a fitting memorial to my mother who taught me the meaning of Tikkun Olam.
The Martin L. Litwin and Ruth Ann Litwin
Fund for General Operations
Ruth and Martin Litwin*, long-time JFS supporters, loved the idea of establishing a fund at the JFS Foundation because of Martin’s history serving as Board President from 1985-1987. He and Ruth were passionate about being actively involved in all JFS activities.
After Martin passed away at 91 in January 2020, Ruth and her children chose to establish a General Unrestricted Fund to have the flexibility to direct funds where most needed. “Whatever program is in need of support in the future, I know that this fund will help,” Ruth said.
With 4 children, 9 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren, creating a legacy through the JFS Foundation was an amazing way to honor Martin’s memory for their loved ones. "We want our grandchildren, family, and friends to be interested in being engaged and involved in the community they live in. My hope is that our actions inspire them to love philanthropy as Martin and I always did," Ruth said.
Martin was a mensch, a good man who prided himself on always doing the right thing. He was as charitable as he was successful, always inspiring those around him. Martin also used his real estate knowledge to help the leadership team with the purchase of our first building.
When asked what has it meant to be involved and making a lasting impact on this community, Ruth replied, "It means everything. It makes me feel good... especially with things being bad these last few years with the pandemic. There is a lot of suffering out there so whatever I can do to help I will."
*of blessed memory
The Charles B. & Helen R. Feldman
Food Pantry Fund
"This fund was created in honor of my parents Helen and Charley Feldman*. They were the most wonderful parents that anyone could ask for in a lifetime. They provided a warm and loving home and the building blocks for hard work and giving back to the community."
- Sam Feldman
What inspired you to establish your fund at the JFS Foundation?
The growing need to help our community with funds directed soley for additional food purchases. Additionally my parents compassion and dedication to volunteer at the JFS Food Pantry for so many years after they moved to Dallas.
What are your hopes for the fund as it continues to grow?
We are commited to focusing additional funding through companies that we are associated with and for milestone occassions from our friends and family. The hope is that we increase the corpus through the years.
What has it meant to you to be involved and make a lasting impact on this community?
*of blessed memory
The Morchower Family Philanthropic Endowment Fund for Children and Adolescents in Crisis
Bette and Dr. Gary Morchower have a 40-plus year history with JFS.
What inspired you to start your fund at the JFS Foundation?
Bette: We know that Jewish Family Service is always there meeting the needs of the growing population and the growing need in Dallas. We thought it was so meaningful as it serves a first response to an immediate need and is imperative for providing proper care. Our fund will be available for the continuum for those in immediate need for those in crisis and need intervention, counseling and support.
Dr. Gary: After having practiced for 45 years in this community, one of the glaring needs that is so readily visible is the need for psychiatric, counseling and care for so many children and families in this community. So many people cannot afford proper psychological and psychiatric services, and their needs are frequently unmet.
What are your hopes for your fund as it continues to grow and support JFS?
Bette: There are so many that have immediate needs, and thats why we use “in crisis” to distinguish the fund. Gary being a pediatrician saw first hand the need.
Dr. Gary: It’s frustrating as a physician because you’re able to treat things like pneumonia and ear infections, but when it comes to children that are in crisis, it becomes very difficult because you’re limited with your resources.
The Susie and Joel Litman Fund for Supportive Services
for Older Adults and Their Families
What inspired you to start your fund at the JFS Foundation?
After our parents passed away (Susie’s mother and Joel’s mother and father), we realized the importance of help to families that needed resources to care for ailing and/or elderly parents. The care can be a drain emotionally and financially for the family. Our aim is to provide whatever assistance possible to ease those burdens. As the fund grows over time, it is our our hope that it provides financial support for adult children with ailing or elderly parents.
Why was it important for you to create a legacy through the JFS Foundation?
JFS has had a special place in our hearts for more than 30 years. Both of us have been active as volunteers, and we’ve seen the results of JFS’s programs and assistance in the Dallas community. We want to see this continue as the community and agency continue to grow.
Why should someone else consider starting a fund with the JFS Foundation?
JFS provides programs regardless of ability to pay. JFS will need resources and financial reserves in order to maintain and expand the quality programming and staff required to serve the growing Dallas community. We’ve seen how the agency has expanded its reach geographically and demographically, evolving as the Dallas community grown.
What is important to you about supporting the Agency both for today and for tomorrow? Both of us have used the agency’s programming. Susie participated in the grief support group after her mother passed away, and we attended the caretaker support group sessions. Each proved very worthwhile. We’ve also delivered holiday care packages to residents throughout the community at the High Holidays and Passover, enabling us to see first-hand the reach and support provided by the agency. No matter who you are, or what resources you have, the agency has an open door to assist anyone in need.
The Sachs-Farkas Fund for Services to the Elderly
There are three reasons that determined my decision to create a fund at the JFS Foundation.
I am deeply committed to the work of the agency. Through years of volunteering, I became keenly aware of the outcomes and stories of individuals whose lives have been impacted and improved by the services at JFS.
This is my heritage, my inherited value system. The mission of JFS speaks directly to repairing the world - one family and individual at a time. Creating my fund at the JFS Foundation ensures that my legacy will continue to repair the world after I’m gone. I hope that it sets an example for others.
The experience of caring for my mom over the past several years opened my eyes to the overwhelming financial, physical, and emotional needs of caring for the elderly. As a result, I decided to designate the Sachs-Farkas Family Fund specifically to benefit services for the elderly. My mom was very fortunate to have a wonderful support system. Other families may not be so lucky. My hope in designating this fund is that JFS will always be able to provide to other families and caregivers the kind of critical services that I needed for my mom.
Each of us should consider how fortunate we are to have access to the resources at JFS - for ourselves and our families. For this reason, I challenge you to consider setting up a fund at JFS to ensure that more than 150 services provided by JFS today remain available for our children, their children, and many generations to come.
The Pinker Family Fund for Healthy Safe Families
“We first became involved with JFS at the time of the Russian immigration to Dallas, and were immediately welcomed as valuable participants in all aspects of the organization...Through our fund at the JFS Foundation, we have focused our attention on awareness of Jewish Domestic Violence and the ever existing problem of hunger in Dallas. In honor of our parents and grandparents who were helped by others, we are immensely grateful to have the opportunity to make sure the Dallas community has the resources to address the inevitable hardships, stresses and difficulties that are a constant of human lives.”
-Carol and Harold Pinker
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