Day of Philanthropy: learning, sharing, giving, celebrating

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The S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation will bring together leaders in the business, nonprofit and philanthropic worlds for its fifth annual Day of Philanthropy at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco on Thursday, Oct. 29. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman will be the keynote speaker at the luncheon.

The daylong event, which offers estate planning seminars and workshops on philanthropic topics in an effort to educate, energize and celebrate local leaders in the world of giving, is expected to draw more than 700 people, according to Ilan Kayatsky, the federation’s spokesman.

Thomas Friedman

“One of the federation’s central roles in the community is to convene and bring people together for the purposes of catalyzing philanthropy in general or as part of the Jewish community,” Kayatsky said. “The day brings together philanthropists, donors, agencies, foundations, professionals and others who are collectively supporting that Jewish ecosystem that we all believe in supporting. We celebrate collective work and honor those who have really committed themselves to this work.”

This will be the 19th year the federation has held a tax and estate planning seminar, but in 2011 the organization decided to build out the event into the Day of Philanthropy with more extensive programming. The luncheon traditionally features a keynote speaker meant to inspire the community. Friedman, this year’s guest, will discuss his 36 years of experience reporting in and about the Middle East.

Afternoon workshops will focus on how to build a tradition of giving across generations and how to engage social networks in philanthropy; other sessions will address the American Jewish community’s relationship with Israel and the Bay Area Jewish response to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, or BDS. A series of estate and tax-planning seminars in the morning will educate attendees about current practices and recent developments that affect estate planning.

The federation will honor local philanthropist and active lay leader Jim Koshland with its Robert Sinton Award for Distinguished Leadership. Koshland is the former president of the federation’s board of directors and remains actively involved with federation fundraising efforts. A partner at the law firm DLA Piper US LLP, he sits on a number of Jewish organizational boards, including American Jewish World Service and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and is a trustee for the U.C. Berkeley Foundation. He is also the president of the Taube-Koret Campus for Jewish Life in Palo Alto.

The Day of Philanthropy will conclude with a complimentary cocktail reception at 5 p.m. and the presentation of the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Young Leadership to Alex Rayter, who is on the federation’s board of directors and chairs the Russian Jewish Community Steering Committee. Community members also will have the opportunity to allocate $5,000 in “speed grants” among three Jewish community organizations.

“It’s just a fun way to do philanthropy in the moment,” Kayatsky said. “There’s three great organizations; people can choose how to spend $5,000 to support them.”

Day of Philanthropy 2015, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 at Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market St., S.F.


Drew Himmelstein
Drew Himmelstein

Drew Himmelstein is a former J. reporter who writes about education, families and Jewish life. She lives with her husband and two sons.