Bonnie Freundlich: Playing a Role in the Jewish Community, Now and in the Future

Volunteering on a kibbutz before her freshman year at Wellesley, Bonnie Freundlich was able to reflect on the history her ancestors had preserved over centuries of diaspora. "It was a fabulous experience," Bonnie says. "I wanted to find a way to get back the following summer, but my parents had told me I needed to have a job. So I said, ‘All right, I'll find a job—and I'll find a job in Israel.'"

Deeply moved by stories of Youth Aliyah and the organization's rescue of Eastern European Jewish children during World War II, Bonnie wrote letters to the group in search of a job opportunity. Months later, her father mentioned Bonnie's determination to a friend who worked for Hadassah in New York City. The woman invited Bonnie to New York for an interview, which resulted in Bonnie's dream job becoming a reality.

Bonnie put her considerable talents to work for Hadassah again in the early 2000s, this time in her home city of Philadelphia. A nonprofit management consultant by profession, she offered her services pro bono. Bonnie wanted to launch a new group, provided that she could test some theories regarding her target: empty nesters.

"There had been a trickle of empty nesters moving back into the Center City from the suburbs, and there was a doughnut hole in Center City where Jews had started moving back, because they loved the history and culture and art and all that our city has to afford."

A pilot group with empty nesters confirmed Bonnie's hunch: "What our grandmothers and mothers did was right for their time, but it was not relevant to us." The new group began to make adjustments, replacing traditional fundraisers with an annual membership fund drive. In lieu of luncheons, they met after work and concluded with dinner. Programs focused on Jewish history and art as well as Hadassah's pioneering work in medicine. Women's rights and other contemporary issues were addressed, always with a focus on Jewish culture.

By 2008, the group's membership had grown to more than 100 women, many new to the Jewish philanthropic community. The group was officially chartered with a name that holds deep meaning for Bonnie—Dona Gracia, after Dona Gracia Nasi of Portugal, who used her spice trading fortune in the 1500s to preserve Jewish historical records and help crypto Jews escape oppression. "She was a fabulous protector of her family and extended family and an extraordinary businesswoman," Bonnie says.

To ensure that the opportunities Bonnie experienced through Hadassah are available for generations to come, she has established four charitable gift annuities with Hadassah. "I'm so proud of my Jewish heritage," she says. "Hadassah tackles issues that are of interest to women: health, education and preserving family life. A long line of people has helped the Jewish people continue. Supporting Hadassah's work enables me to play my role in the Jewish community, now and for the future."

From One Century to the Next
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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Hadassah a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Hadassah, a nonprofit corporation currently located at (LegalAddress), or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Hadassah or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Hadassah as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Hadassah as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Hadassah where you agree to make a gift to Hadassah and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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