The Jewish Journal, the largest free Jewish publication in New England, has established an endowment to ensure its future. The newspaper plans to raise $500,000 in the next five years.
“As a community and as stewards of this paper, we must make sure that this publication will continue to link Greater Boston Jewry,” said Steven A. Rosenberg, the Journal’s publisher and editor.
Bob Rose, a former president of the Journal’s Board of Overseers, believes the Journal will find creative ways to navigate the ever-changing landscape for small community newspapers. That is why he and his wife Martha donated $20,000 to start the Jewish Journal Continuity Fund, an endowment fund that will allow the Journal to grow.
“You have to find a way to try things, to experiment with things. That is what this fund is for,” said Rose, a retired MIT professor. “It is essentially an evolutionary vehicle – it’s a tool for survival and growth. It needs to finance and enable the Journal to try things.”
Journal Board President Neil Donnenfeld, who set aside $10,000 in his will for the Jewish Journal Continuity Fund, believes that this new endeavor is important because it will allow the Journal to weather whatever storms may come. “The reason why the Jewish Journal Continuity Fund is so important, and why I’ve made a pledge to put $10,000 in my estate planning for this fund, is that I don’t know what the future’s going to bring,” said Donnenfeld.
“I want future boards to inherit a financially sound organization that not only has working capital for day-to-day expenses, but also has robust financial cushioning to ride out any unexpected things that may come up. We live in a world of disruption. I want the paper and the people who are leading it to have the flexibility to, in a methodical fashion, be able to fund the Journal on its mission of connecting the community without major disruption.”
There are several ways to contribute to the Jewish Journal Continuity Fund: mandated IRA distributions, life insurance policies, naming the fund in a will – or simply writing a check right now. Regardless of how it is contributed, the money will go far in ensuring that the Jewish Journal, at a time when community print media is increasingly endangered, will survive and thrive for years to come. “This is an historic opportunity to get on board early and underwrite the future of this iconic community newspaper,” said Donnenfeld.
Donnenfeld hopes that the Jewish Journal Continuity Fund will have $100,000 in funds and commitments by the end of his board presidency in October 2020, and $500,000 within five years. Donnenfeld, who has had experience creating and managing several nonprofit endowments, estimates that the endowment will be able to generate four to five percent of its principal annually. If the endowment reaches $500,000, that will mean an extra $25,000 of revenue each year for the Journal, which will be allocated at the board’s discretion.
Assuming that operational expenses are covered (in addition to the endowment fund, the Journal also has a working capital account, which is on track to contain three months of annual expenses as a cushion), this extra revenue can go to the Continuity Fund or toward the types of initiatives that Bob Rose believes are crucial for the Journal’s long-term success. “If everything is running well, and we’re continuing to run a surplus, then the money could be used to fund new initiatives, like hiring young writers, or, at the discretion of the publisher – with the input of the board – hiring an investigative journalist, bolstering our web presence, and perhaps expanding the reach of the paper into other communities,” said Donnenfeld.
Matthew Swartz, a member of the Journal’s Executive Board of Overseers, is also one of the first donors to the fund. This month, he announced that he would contribute $10,000 to the endowment. “I feel the paper is very important to the Jewish community and I hope others in the community will consider making a contribution to help sustain this vital Jewish entity. This paper serves many different people and organizations. We need to keep it vibrant and fiscally solvent.”
To donate to the fund, or for more information, contact Steven A. Rosenberg at Rosenberg@jewishjournal.org, or call 978-745-4111. The Journal will recognize all contributors in a future edition of the paper.