JFed launches new Montefiore Society


The Jewish Federation recently launched a new society for financial professionals, called the Montefiore Society. “We had been talking about it for some time and felt like it was a good time to roll out a new campaign effort, so we dove right in” said Dana DeBlasi, associate director of development for the Jewish Federation.

“It’s an idea that’s been discussed at a leadership level for a few years. Our mission is to strengthen relationships within these individuals, as well as enhance the quality of Jewish life. People developing firms or a client base and are just starting their business are able to join and get the benefits of continuing education and to be active in the Jewish community,” she said.


“If anybody understands money and ways to use it, it is the financial services side,” said Sherri Frank Weintrop, a founding co-chair for the Montefiore Society.

The society is set up for Jewish members of professions in financial services, including accountants, stock brokers, financial planners and insurance brokers. Members of the society are expected to give a minimum household gift to the Jewish Federation, the amount depending on the member’s age. The gift levels range from $500 a year for people under 30, and goes up $1,800 for people 40 or older. Eighteen members have already given an extra gift, in addition to the minimum gift they were required to give.

There are currently 90 members that have joined, and by the end of 2007 that number is expected to rise to at least 120 members.

“Members will feel good about their giving and also receive some benefit from their giving,” DeBlasi said. “It really has the potential to develop some excited and engaged community leaders.”

The society was named after the philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore, who was born in the 18th century and lived to the age of 100.

“We spent a great deal of time thinking about naming each of the societies,” said DeBlasi. “When we were doing research we spoke with several rabbis and community leaders, just in terms of who they thought would be best. Montefiore’s story is pretty unbelievable, especially at the time in which he lived. He worked until he was 40 and spent the rest of his life doing philanthropy and devoting his life to resources to the community.”

Right now, the focus of the society is on continuing education and networking opportunities.

“We also would like to have the ability to connect with the other societies so we can discuss issues that cross over,” said DeBlasi. I hope to grow the campaign. This is a definite opportunity for people to be educated about community needs and I hope to build a sense of momentum and energy in a new group of people.”

Weintrop said she has been pushing for a new society for a few years now, and thinks the Montefiore Society is the best received of all the societies.

“We’ve gotten a lot of interest at the beginning,” Weintrop said. “Sometimes we need to get people interested in giving for a totally different reason. To repair the world, there are lots of people in need, and financial services people have the ability to advise the importance of charitable giving.”