Community assets join hands on Day of Philanthropy

It’s a day when hard-nosed financial planning meets inspirational speakers and uplifting personal stories. On Thursday, Sept. 22, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation will continue its tradition of bringing together finance and estate planning experts as well as charitable and public service leaders for its annual Day of Philanthropy.

It’s the 20th year the Federation has held its annual tax and estate-planning seminar, and it’s Year 6 since that event grew into the Day of Philanthropy, a full day of education and networking that also honors community leaders.

Bessemer Trust managing director Steve R. Akers leading a seminar at the 2015 Day of Philanthropy.

For the Federation, it’s a chance to bring together philanthropists, foundations, business leaders and agencies from the Bay Area Jewish world to learn from each other, share strategies for social engagement and inspire the legacy of giving.

Previous Day of Philanthropy keynote speakers have included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. This year’s keynote speaker at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco will be Jeff Swartz, philanthropist and former CEO of Timberland.

“Day of Philanthropy is a once-a-year opportunity to bring our partners together to celebrate our collective work of building Jewish community,” said Ilan Kayatsky, Federation spokesperson.

The Day of Philanthropy will begin with a tax and estate-planning seminar from 7:30 to 11 a.m. That seminar will bring together experts from financial and wealth management firms who will lead sessions about creating trusts and philanthropic giving at different life stages.

At the noon to 2 p.m. community luncheon, Swartz, who is now the chairman of Maoz, a network of professionals dedicated to advancing positive transformations in Israeli society, will speak on “Jewish leaders in times of crisis.”

Also during the luncheon, the Federation will recognize several community leaders. Bay Area philanthropist David A. Friedman will receive the Sinton Award for distinguished leader of the year. Friedman has served on the Federation’s board of directors and been involved with numerous organizations, including the Jewish Home of San Francisco. He’s a structural engineer and seismic safety expert and board chair of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association.

The Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award will go to Marilyn Yolles Waldman, a longtime leader in the Bay Area Jewish community. Waldman is a founder and board member of the Contemporary Jewish Museum and worked at JVS, where she created a jobs program for Russian Jewish immigrants.

The Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Young Leadership will go to Sam Goldman, California program director of the Conservation Lands Foundation and a committed conservationist. Goldman serves on the board of Wilderness Torah and co-chairs the Federation’s LGBT alliance.

In afternoon breakout sessions that will be divided into two 70-minute time frames, one starting at 2:20 p.m. and the other at 3:50 p.m., participants will be able to learn about a variety of topics. To name but a few: values-based investing for the social good, creating connections with philanthropic leaders in Israel and one session titled “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the ‘Next Gen.’”

The day will wrap up with a one-hour cocktail reception on the veranda starting at 5 p.m.

“The day is designed to convene, inspire, teach and connect all of us, and to further facilitate our capacity to support Jewish life,” Kayatsky said.

Attendees can purchase tickets to the tax seminar alone or can opt for an all-day pass; luncheon-only tickets are also available. The event drew more than 500 participants last year.

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.