Philanthropy Program Raises $75K for COVID-19 Fund

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The 2020 Sharon and Joseph Kestenbaum Legacy Philanthropy Program cohort on a retreat in Cuba in February.
The 2020 Sharon and Joseph Kestenbaum Legacy Philanthropy Program cohort on a retreat in Cuba in February. (Courtesy of Sarah Solomon)

The Sharon and Joseph Kestenbaum Legacy Philanthropy Program raised $75,000 for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s COVID-19 emergency fund.

Both cohorts, comprised of young Jewish philanthropists, donated the funds, achieving 100% participation. Program participants were challenged by Sharon and Joseph Kestenbaum to support the fund, and the Kestenbaums matched the groups’ gifts up to $25,000.

Jewish Federation launched the program in January 2019 to connect participants from families with established philanthropic legacies.


“Participants have the opportunity to learn together with their peers and explore issues surrounding their families legacy of leadership and how Jewish values shape their future aspirations. Sessions are facilitated by nationally recognized experts in this field,”  Jewish Federation Deputy Chief Development Officer Amanda Goldstein said.

The 2020 cohort is the second group to complete the program.

“The Legacy Philanthropy Program allows us to be partners with a very talented, extraordinary group of Jewish leaders that has just started to reach their potential and has a desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves, to be a part of a family — a Jewish family. These young leaders are the hope of the current and next generation and have the potential to make a difference in the world,” founders Sharon and Joseph Kestenbaum said in a joint statement.

For Michael Gevurtz, the program was an opportunity to build relationships and define his philanthropic mission.

“I am not highly religious, but I have a strong cultural connection to Judaism. I want to perpetuate those values for my family and the community,” he said.

Matt and Casey Satell appreciated being part of a cohort invested in caring for their community.

“Ultimately, the program helped us to identify our own values as a couple and how we can use that to impact our philanthropic mindset,” Matt Satell said.

Casey Satell noted that the COVID-19 crisis emphasized the program’s importance.

“Philanthropy is always important, but during a time of crisis it’s imperative. It is also during a time of crisis where you see philanthropic leaders come together and lead for their community. Sharon and Joseph Kestenbaum are two examples of leaders who came forward by matching the gifts of any legacy program member to Federation’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund. How can you not be inspired by that or be compelled to give?” she said.

For Jason and Jessica Morgan, the program was an opportunity to build on their family’s values.

“My parents have always taught me the importance of giving back and over the years have made huge impacts on causes near and dear to their hearts. They’re amazing role models and we hope to one day leave a legacy like they have,” Jason Morgan said.

So far, the program has exceeded the couple’s expectations.

“Not only have we met a great group of other young people in Philadelphia, but it also has opened our eyes to new ways of thinking about philanthropy and how to make a lasting impact,” Jessica Morgan said.

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