The Dor L’Dor Society of the Jewish Federation Foundation of Greater Rhode Island hosted a luncheon presentation at the home of Judy and Robbie Mann on April 27, featuring Avi Deutsch, co-founder and CEO of LAVAN, a global community bringing together Jewish values and the power of business to repair our world. He addressed the group on “How to Change the World by Aligning our Capital with Jewish Values.”
First, Lions of Judah (LOJ) Judy Mann and Susan Froehlich were honored. Both recently endowed their LOJ gifts and signed the Lion of Judah scroll of honor, which will remain on permanent display in the administrative hallway at the Alliance’s Dwares JCC. “Since Robbie and I are spending less physical time in Rhode Island, endowing my Lion of Judah gift serves as a way for the state and this special community to remain in our hearts,” said Judy Mann.
Jewish Alliance Board Chair Mitzi Berkelhammer and Jewish Federation Foundation Board Chair Sharon Gaines spoke about giving Jewishly and the Dor L’Dor Society, which recognizes and honors those in the community who have included the Jewish Federation Foundation in their estate plans or have established a permanent endowment fund. “Dor L’Dor means generation to generation, because future generations will benefit from our generosity. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll consider what you’d like your Jewish legacy to be, and join the Dor L’Dor Society,” said Gaines.
Deutsch then had the opportunity to share his experiences. He is a former business development manager at Boundless Impact Investing. He spent a year in Rwanda working with at-risk, orphaned youth. Deutsch holds a bachelor’s degree from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, worked at the Bank of Israel and served as an officer in the IDF.
He discussed the reasons why social impact investing has recently boomed. Social investing refers to investments that are made with the intention of generating a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return.
“People want to know they are giving to good, such as newly-developed public school technology, health initiatives or the high-tech industry in Israel,” said Deutsch. “We create the discussions and programming for communities seeking to engage members around impact investing with Jewish values. Our content brings together impact entrepreneurs, experienced investors and the Jewish community to deepen their knowledge on impact investing with Jewish values. These can impact Israel, the global Jewish community, or non-sectarian causes related to Jewish principles.”
Investing can be a Jewish practice when guided and executed by intention, meaning and purpose. LAVAN takes a holistic approach to integrating Jewish values into all stages of the investment process. When considering how to integrate Jewish values into investing, many gravitate toward the final outcome of the investment process. This approach misses important opportunities that combine purpose and meaning into the various stages of the investment process. The final investments are only one piece of the puzzle, and while certainly important, exploring why and how investment decisions are made is also crucial to finding purpose in investing.
LAVAN is piloting a fellowship experience with a select group of social investors as a way to engage the next generation of Jewish leadership in a hands-on exploration of the impact investing sector. Objectives of this program include identifying Jewish values relevant to financial decisions, challenging participants to align assets with values and stimulating conversation around stewardship of communal assets.
“Millennials expect to make a difference and therefore throw meaning and passion behind their giving. This can be made more difficult when their parents and grandparents want them to give for the sake of giving. Impact investing is a way to bridge that gap between values-based giving and something they believe in,” he said.
How do Jewish values influence and align with your investment decisions?
For information about creating your values-based investments, contact Trine Lustig, vice president of Philanthropy, at 401-421-4111, ext. 223, or email@example.com.
JENNIFER ZWIRN works in allocations and endowment for the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island. She also is the AccessJewishRI vocational services contact.