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JCF & JCRC to Announce Exciting News Involving BookMates

Updated: May 27

JCF & JCRC to announce exciting news involving BookMates
Pictured is a group of BookMates students with an author who brought books for them to keep, funded by a JCF Grant.

The following is a reprint of the JCF's Money Matters column, published in the May 15, 2024 issue of the Jewish Community Voice, titled, "JCF & JCRC to announce exciting news involving BookMates":


Twenty-five years ago, our “sister” agency, the Jewish Community Relations Council, launched an innovative program called BookMates. Their goal? To connect volunteer readers with individual students in Camden elementary schools to help children improve the vital skill of reading.

Since then, thousands of BookMates volunteers from many walks of life–ranging from police officers to retired teachers, and beyond–have read books with thousands of youngsters and made a lasting positive impact on their education.

Now, what does the future of BookMates hold? The boards and staff of both the Jewish Community Foundation and JCRC are excited to make a big announcement on June 5 that will reflect the bright future of BookMates and its continuing community impact. Please consider joining us in person; event details follow below.

The JCF, in our role of enhancing our donors’ annual giving through donor advised funds as well as sustainable, long-term funding through endowments funds–has long supported JCRC and BookMates. Generous, foresighted donors have established some two dozen endowment funds to ensure that the agency’s programs and services, such as BookMates and the Esther Raab Holocaust Museum & Goodwin Education Center, continue to benefit all of Southern New Jersey.

For donors looking to ensure JCRC’s future, a legacy gift is an optimal option.

JCRC Executive Director Sabrina Spector said, “Leaving a legacy gift to benefit JCRC or any Jewish organization in South Jersey is vitally important, and we thank donors who have done so already. If you have not, please consider leaving a gift in your estate, life insurance policy, IRA, or other financial account. It can cost you absolutely nothing during your lifetime but will last for many generations. Plus, it can be easy to do!”

To inspire more donors to grow legacy gifts and grow endowment funds for JCRC and other SNJ Jewish organizations, the JCF has participated in the Life & Legacy initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation for the past 10 years. Since then, over 900 legacy commitments have been established by individuals like you who want to secure our Jewish community’s future.

If you would like to leave a legacy gift or create an endowment fund to benefit JCRC, please contact Sabrina Spector at (856) 673-2511 or or JCF Assistant Director Mike Staff at (856) 673- 2528 or

You may also leave a legacy benefiting any other Jewish or secular nonprofit organization.

To that end, we recently completed Year 1 of the four-year Life & Legacy Plus endeavor, to jumpstart the legacy conversation and build on earlier successes.

During this past year, over 30 Life & Legacy donors stepped up and made new commitments, formalized existing ones, and/ or contributed an incredible $830,000 to JCF endowment funds. As a result, the following nine organizations will receive an incentive grant, thanks to donors who provided support: Adath Emanu-El, Congregation Beth El, Congregation Beth Tikvah, Congregation B’nai Tikvah Beth Israel, Congregation Kol Ami, Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, and the Katz JCC.

Now, let’s celebrate! On the evening of Wednesday, June 5, we invite anybody who has made a commitment or endowment donation through Life & Legacy or who has an existing endowment fund with the JCF to join us for a complimentary dinner at the Katz JCC. Afterwards, guests are invited to join the BookMates Appreciation Event to celebrate their 25th anniversary. The program will include an exciting JCF/BookMates announcement, along with performances by student groups, complimentary dessert, and more. You are sure to be inspired–sign up today!

For registration or more information, please visit jcfsnj. org/legacy-celebration.


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