Ranch & Coast Magazine

May 2024

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Page 45 of 99

PHOTO BY VINCENT KNAKAL E STABLISHED IN 1967, JEWISH Community Foundation San Diego is a leader in local giving. Serving some 900 philanthropic clients, the foundation oversees more than $800 million in donor-advised funds and other charitable vehicles, distributing between $100 and $200 million each year, the vast majority here in San Diego. Since its inception, the foundation has facilitated more than $2 billion in grants. An original offshoot of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, there are Jewish Community Foundations in every city across America with a sizeable Jewish population — though notably, 75 percent of the more than 7,000 grants the San Diego foundation makes each year on behalf of its donors goes to secular causes. "We have many donors throughout the county, including La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe, and most of the families we serve are Jewish," says Jeremy Pearl, the organization's new CEO, a Londoner by birth who attended University of San Diego Law School and has called San Diego home for nearly 40 years. "Still, there is a great deal of overlap and cooperation within philanthropy," Pearl adds, noting that the Jewish Community Foundation has warm relations with San Diego's other charitable foundations, including both the Rancho Santa Fe and San Diego Foundations. "Many donors begin by supporting their synagogue or church, but once they've done that, they tend to branch out, looking to their passions — education, homelessness, hunger. Simply put, our job is to facilitate grants and other philanthropic endeavors by our very, very generous families," Pearl says. "We work to make giving meaningful, tax-efficient, and impactful, and over the years, as we've grown, we've found ourselves with a sizeable group of clients who are not Jewish, though their giving remains faith-based." ough Pearl only recently became CEO, he is no newcomer to the foundation, having served as its chief financial officer since 2005. During that time, the foundation has not only been a leader in providing state-of-the art investment tools in the charitable arena, in 2019 the foundation made its first donor-directed impact investments in San Diego, becoming the lead investor in both the Habitat for Humanity Homebuilding Investment Fund and the Women's Empowerment Loan Fund. It is a significant achievement that was accomplished together with Mission Driven Finance, an investment company here in San Diego launched in 2016 to fill the gap between philanthropy and traditional investing, often referred to as impact investing. "Unlike typical investment managers, Mission Driven Finance invests to improve the community, something we've been able to bring to our donors," says Pearl. In 2023, the foundation started a pilot program to vet organizations in San Diego focused on the problem of homelessness, from direct services to policy, mental health, and wraparound services. "e reality is they all need support and this is a way to make that possible," Pearl says. Pearl points out that there are people who manage everything themselves. He ads, "We make it quite easy in that it only takes $1,800 to open an account. But as with any endeavor, our clients want to know their money is being put to good use. We work with some pretty big numbers, and because of that we see patterns developing. When that happens, we do a deep dive to identify synergies and the most impactful programs focused on a particular issue." Being community-based, Pearl acknowledges the foundation sometimes just gets wind of something — for example, a program at Donovan Correctional Facility here in San Diego in which inmates train service dogs for injured veterans, learning life and work skills in the process. "Philanthropy is a wonderful field to work in, and a window into the soul of San Diego," says Pearl. "Even now, after all the growth of the past 30 years, there is still a remarkable sense of community. It's incredible how much generosity there is just beneath the surface." jcfsandiego.org BILL ABRAMS e inside recruit will continue a legacy of philanthropy in San Diego Focus philanthropy Jewish Community Foundation New CEO Jewish Community Foundation San Diego CEO Jeremy Pearl ranchandcoast.com

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