Foundation Focus WINTER 2024

JCF Celebrates a Legacy of Leadership at 64th Annual Meeting

More than one hundred Foundation fundholders and supporters gathered on the evening of December 13th for the Jewish Community Foundation’s 64th Annual Meeting and Installation of Officers and Trustees. Guests enjoyed a lively reception and an engaging program which reflected on a year of generous giving, strong communal partnerships, and meaningful programming for philanthropists of every age and stage of life. The event also celebrated retiring Executive Director Lauren Mattleman Hoopes’ many inspiring contributions to the organization during her 20-year tenure, and welcomed Josh Stein as her capable successor.

As a special surprise for Hoopes, her children Alexandra and Jacob Sunshine, and Nathaniel Hoopes traveled from across the country to attend the meeting. The children had the honor of lighting the menorah to celebrate the seventh night of Hanukkah and leading the holiday blessings. The D’var Torah followed, given by JCF Past President Stan Zeldin. Zeldin tied Hoopes’ service into the Jewish teachings. “When we think of Lauren’s legacy and what she’s done for us, the programs she’s created, cementing our commitment to the Jewish community, we know that this is a joyous day because we’ve had her blessings for 20 years,” he said.

After an update on market performance by JCF Investment Committee Chair Brian Scharf, JCF President Frank Lipsman and Hoopes jointly reported on the Foundation’s impactful work in 2023. They shared that by mid-December, Foundation funds had distributed more than $25 million to more than 1,000 unique charities. This figure includes more than $1.5 million distributed to 43 charities addressing the emergency in Israel. 2023 also remained a robust year in terms of legacy giving development. Donors established 30 new planned gift commitments which represent $8.1 million in current and future dollars. Hoopes and Lipsman also described philanthropic programming highlights of the year, including the B’nai Tzedek Shuk, J-LEAD Grants Celebration, Jewish Culture Fest and outreach to professional advisors.

Another meaningful surprise for Hoopes was a video created for the event featuring several JCF leaders reflecting on her outstanding accomplishments and lasting impact on the organization. JCF Past President Stanley Bushman was involved in hiring Hoopes. In the video he remembers, “The first person that we interviewed was Lauren Hoopes. And after the interview, Stan [Zeldin] said, ‘Ok, we’ve got three more to talk to.’ And I said, ‘No way, we’re not going to talk to any others. Lauren is it. There’s no question in my mind about it.”

“She’s brilliant. She really is, and she has been able to lead us in a way that she makes everybody around her better,” remarked Past President Merilyn Berenbom in the video.

This sentiment was echoed by Alice Jacks Achtenberg. “I had no idea until I became president, what a wonderful leader Lauren was. Lauren’s legacy to me was grooming her staff, making sure that people felt that they could do their best work. Lauren was an excellent leader in that way.”

In recognition of the momentous occasion, Lipsman announced that a new JCF fund has been created in Hoopes’ honor to provide the Foundation with the resources to maintain staff excellence through professional development, tools to better serve fundholders, and opportunities to strengthen the position of the Foundation within the community. As of this publication, more than $150,000 has been contributed to the fund by nearly 70 generous donors.

“Among Lauren’s greatest attributes are her fierce loyalty to her staff, and her strong desire to help them succeed and help make JCF stronger,” said Lipsman. “The Lauren Mattleman Hoopes Excellence in Leadership Fund will be used exclusively to support the people that work hardest to run this organization…we hope that 50 years from now we will still be obtaining grants from the ‘Lauren Hoopes Fund,’ and her importance to building this organization will be remembered long into the future.”

Hoopes was visibly moved by the honor and graciously addressed the audience. “What I must say is how grateful I am to this community, to have had a career here of meaning and service, and how much I appreciate all of you – lay leaders, staff, fundholders, professional colleagues, friends, and family - for all you have done for me on this unexpected path I set upon over 20 years ago,” she said. “You have inspired me, encouraged me, supported me, partnered with me, challenged me, and occasionally, absolutely infuriated me. All of which has helped me learn and grow both professionally and personally, which I hope also has helped JCF become a stronger organization, with a vision for its future as the literal foundation for the Jewish community.”

“I am so excited and if I may also say, so proud, that the Foundation has seen the many gifts that Josh Stein will bring to bear in his new role as executive director,” said Hoopes of her successor. “Josh has the qualities of intelligence, patience, grace, creativity, and integrity that are so essential to leadership. Josh, I have every confidence that you are the right person to lead our beloved Foundation into an even brighter future.”

The evening concluded with remarks from Stein. “I will take the helm of an organization that has so much potential thanks to the very solid foundation built by Lauren, her predecessors, our talented professional team and visionary lay leaders,” he said. “When I returned to Kansas City ten and a half years ago, I was drawn by the opportunity to give back, or I prefer to say, give forward to help further develop this community that has shaped my own identity. I believed then, as I do today, that the Jewish Community Foundation provides the perfect platform for me to accomplish my personal and career goals and to help secure our community’s promise.”

At the meeting, the following Trustees were elected: Fay Balk, Brian Block, Taly Friedman, Martha Gershun, Edward Goldstein, Michael Liss, Alana Muller, Scott Picker, Brian Scharf, Marcia Soltz, and Gary Weinberg.

The following officers were elected: Frank Lipsman, President; Martha Gershun, Vice President; David Goodman, Vice President; Joe Hiersteiner, First Vice president; Linda Lyon, Vice President; Brian Scharf, Vice President; Bob Palan, Treasurer; Joshua Stein, Secretary; and Jay Lewis, Assistant Secretary.

If you’d like to make a contribution in Lauren’s honor to The Lauren Mattleman Hoopes Excellence in Leadership Fund, please visit

Make 2024 a Year of Smarter Giving

Dear Friends:

This is an exciting time of change and opportunity for the Foundation and the community. We are blessed with so much potential thanks to the very solid foundation developed by Lauren Hoopes over her 20 years of incredible leadership that has made JCF a model of excellence. We are fortunate as an agency to have a long history of visionary and community-minded leadership in both the professional and volunteer ranks. Our past will inform our future as we continue to innovate and adapt in order to best serve our community.

As we enter this new year with the promise that it brings, we hope that you will take the time to reflect upon your charitable goals and the impact you desire to make in 2024 and beyond. Know that we are here as a resource to add value to your philanthropic experience.

Many of you have a tax advisor, financial advisor, legal advisor and more. Remember that you also have a philanthropic advisor in the Foundation. We will focus on providing creative, customized and strategic solutions always with an eye on charitable impact. But perhaps most importantly, we will approach planning in a manner that makes giving joyful and brings meaning and fulfillment to you and your families.

Together, we will go from strength to strength. Please stop in for a visit, give us a call or send an email, we would love to hear from you and are continually inspired by your commitment to JCF and the community.

Frank Lipsman, President & Josh Stein, Executive Director

B'nai Tzedek Program Engages Generations of Givers

Now in its 23rd year, the Foundation’s B’nai Tzedek program has introduced hundreds of teens to the joys of giving back to the community by inviting them to establish their own personal charitable giving accounts. A new B’nai Tzedek account holder, Eliana Schwartzbard, is the first second-generation B’nai Tzedek participant. Eliana’s mom, Kaley Wajcman, opened a B’nai Tzedek fund at the Foundation more than 20 years ago and was one of the program’s first participants. It’s wonderful to see firsthand how the family is carrying on the tradition of tzedakah.

“It was important for our family to open a B’nai Tzedek Fund with Eliana when she had her Bat Mitzvah as it was such a meaningful opportunity for me as a fundholder to get to distribute my earnings yearly,” said Wajcman. “I loved the autonomy it gave me as a teenager to decide where I wanted to grant my money and to learn about unique causes both locally and in Israel. It felt special, no matter if my distribution was smaller or larger on a given year, that the importance of the tzedakah I was giving was STILL impactful for the recipient, and just as meaningful for me as the giver.”

Save the date of April 4 for this year’s youth philanthropy fair, the B’nai Tzedek Shuk.

For more information, please contact Tracie Holley at or (913) 327-8284.

All the action doesn’t need to take place in the 4th quarter!

We’ve watched enough sports to know that there is nothing more exciting than a game winning touchdown drive, a buzzer beater in March Madness or a walk-off home run in a nail-biter game. But a true fan knows that it is about those moves early in the game that set up the team for success down the stretch.

While we have become accustomed to the excitement of year-end giving and the joy that the season brings, let’s take some time to plan early this year to ensure we have the winning strategy in place. To discuss your charitable goals, contact Josh Stein at (913) 327-8121 or to start the year off with a win.

New Funds

Community Legacy Funds

  • Stanley L. & Geraldine Goldberg Legacy Fund

Donor Advised Funds

  • Emily Marie Acri Donor Advised Fund
  • Madeline Beth Acri Donor Advised Fund
  • Suzanne Block Donor Advised Fund
  • Carolyn Acri Boren Donor Advised Fund
  • Dorey-Goldberg Charitable Fund
  • Scott & Caron Gutovitz Charitable Fund
  • Mike & Staci Kahn Donor Advised Fund
  • Emily & Brian Levine Donor Advised Fund
  • Luna High Impact Fund
  • Alexis & Neil Miller Donor Advised Fund
  • Deborah & Brian Pappas Charitable Fund
  • Sara & Danny Wajcman Donor Advised Fund

Restricted Funds

  • Ann Elyachar Legacy Fund
  • Meredith Farnan Endowment for Jewish Family Services
  • Lauren M. Hoopes Excellence in Leadership Fund
  • Arlene & Leo Shalinsky Restricted Fund #6
  • Howard & Irene Weiner Fund for Israel & Overseas Support

Custodial Funds

  • MCHE Holocaust Memorial Fund