(From left) Alvin Baum Jr., Marc Benioff, Roselynne "Cissie" Swig, Adam Swig.
(From left) Alvin Baum Jr., Marc Benioff, Roselynne "Cissie" Swig, Adam Swig.

Jewish philanthropy must be more than a one-day event

The annual S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation’s Day of Philanthropy is once again upon us. Nationally known speakers, donors and thought leaders will gather Nov. 19 at San Francisco’s Hyatt Regency Hotel to discuss the state of Jewish community charitable giving in the Bay Area and beyond. It’s always an impressive event, but we must add this caveat: When it comes to Jewish philanthropy, it’s hardly a matter of one day. Rather, it is the year-round oxygen that makes our community strong.

This week’s Charitable Giving supplement paints a portrait of a Jewish community mobilized to do good. You will read about Day of Philanthropy honoree Alvin Baum, a pioneer in the Bay Area LGBTQ community’s fight for equal rights and a prolific donor to multiple causes, Jewish, gay and otherwise. You will read about Salesforce founder and native San Franciscan Marc Benioff’s commitment to fold charitable giving into his corporate ethos. And you will hear directly from prominent community leaders such as philanthropist Tad Taube and the Federation’s East Bay director of philanthropy Lisa Tabak on the centrality of giving to the maintenance of Jewish communal life.

But let us take some time to focus on Adam Swig, all of 34, grandson of one of the Bay Area’s most beloved philanthropists, Roselyne “Cissy” Swig, and himself a 21st-century pioneer in new ways to encourage charitable giving.

As Swig told J. in our cover story this week, he seeks to make his uniquely generational form of philanthropy “fun, filling it with joy.”

By staging huge themed events and parties through his nonprofit Value Culture, he has hit on a way to draw in young adults like himself, lure them with the promise of entertainment, then hook them with the surprisingly potent satisfaction of giving back. He has raised money for Birthright Israel, the S.F. Jewish Film Festival, the Jewish innovation hub Reboot and many more. And always to a good beat you can dance to.

The example of Swig should reassure those who worry about the future of Jewish philanthropy. As long as creative young people like Adam Swig are doing their thing, we will always have an emerging cadre of philanthropists committed to the preservation of our precious Jewish community.

We hope this special issue of J. will inspire readers to take part, dig deep and experience the joys of giving.

J. Editorial Board

The J. Editorial Board pens editorials as the voice of J.