Giving for Life: Philanthropy at Every Stage

Jewish tradition views giving back as a universal obligation independent of time or circumstance. At the Jewish Community Foundation, we customize our philanthropic guidance for every donor, whatever their age or stage in life. From teaching families about financial literacy to helping identify charitable passions and advising on charitable estate planning, we’re here to serve our donors’ changing needs.

The Midlife Donor

For donor Sandy Sigal, 59, The Foundation’s accessibility is central to its ongoing relevance for people across generations. “I have four children from ages 21 to 31, and we take an active approach to family giving, involving everyone in the process.” He says. “Our Donor Advised Fund (DAF) at The Foundation makes it super easy to give. Putting money into it is straightforward and hassle-free.”

Growing up as the son of a single mother in Van Nuys, Sigal learned the value of tzedakah early on. “My mom worked as a paralegal full-time to make ends meet. She’d head to her office before I left for school each morning and return well after I’d returned home each afternoon,” he recalls. With so much unsupervised time, Sigal had ample opportunity to get into trouble. But one day, having been caught stealing candy, he began to appreciate the transformative power of investing in a community.

Sandy Sigal leaving for Camp Max Straus in the 1970s.

“In her desperation about what to do with me, my mom called The Jewish Federation, and they put her in touch with Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles. I ended up spending two summers at the program’s Camp Max Straus [now Camp Bob Waldorf], and it changed my life,” he says.

Now an influential real estate developer, Sigal never forgot how charitable programs like Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters changed his life’s trajectory. “I remember thinking, ‘Man, what a difference those people made for me. How can I pay it forward to make sure I’m able to give other kids that same experience?’ Today, I’m president of the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Board of Directors, and my kids have all been counselors in training at Camp Max Straus.”

Sigal hosts an annual family meeting that gathers everyone together to map out their philanthropic contributions for the year ahead. “We discuss our achievements over the past year and our family’s finances, which gives the kids a window into how money is made, how hard it is to earn it, and how privileged they are to have means at their disposal,” he says. “Then we talk about ways we can use those means to improve our society.”

The Sigals have concentrated on issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, homelessness, and educational support for disadvantaged children. “My kids know my mantra is ‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’ and they believe that, as Jews, we have a responsibility to care about the greater good.”

This article is part of the Spring 2023 issue of Legacy Magazine by Jewish Community Federation of Los Angeles.
To read the original article, please go here