Summary of Vassar Temple Restricted Funds


TO:  Bob Ritter

FROM: Jennifer Sachs Dahnert

DATE:  June 14, 2016

RE:  Summary of Vassar Temple restricted funds

At the request of the Vassar Temple Executive Committee I am pleased to submit the following memo for distribution to the Temple Membership at the June 15, 2016 Congregational Meeting.  I regret that a work commitment precludes my ability to attend the meeting to present this in person, and hope that the following information will achieve the objectives of the Temple leadership in asking me to provide this information.

Our conversation regarding restricted funds stemmed from questions raised within the Temple membership regarding expenditure of funds and accountability around designated funds.  In compiling this information, I seek to remove any mystery that may exist regarding the purposes of specific funds and how decisions are made regarding their use.  The information that follows is intended to provide a base of information that is reinforced through the pieces I began publishing in the Temple Bulletin last summer (“Fund Facts”).

In general, individuals wishing to make philanthropic contributions to Vassar Temple are encouraged to make their gifts for unrestricted purposes, to support operating expenses for the Temple and thus strengthen the financial underpinnings of our Temple.  Some donors, however, prefer to attach their contributions to specific purposes – also known as “restricted funds” – so that they can have a more direct awareness of the impact of their donations.  Following is a complete list of all current funds toward which those who are inclined may direct their contributions to the Temple.  

Hineni Fund

The Hineni Fund provides ongoing support for Vassar Temple’s Seth A. Erlebacher Religious School and youth programs. The name Hineni – meaning “here I am” – reflects the devotion to Jewish youth and education demonstrated by Temple President Seth Erlebacher (1965-2011) and his enduring legacy of service.

Tree of Life

The Tree of Life provides a means to honor the living and commemorate joyous events.  Half of the proceeds from the Tree of Life fund go directly into the Endowment Fund; the other provides current-use support for ongoing programs and operations of the Temple. Following are the various sponsorship levels on the Tree of Life:  Leaf — $180.00; Large Branch — $1,800.00; Rock — $2,800.00; Trunk — $7,500.00.

Memorial Plaques

The names of departed loved ones are listed on bronze plaques in the sanctuary.  On each Yahrzeit and at every Memorial Service, a memorial light is kindled beside the plauue and the name is remembered from the pulpit.  The current minimum donation for a Memorial Plaque is $500.

Sustaining (General) Fund

Contributions to this fund provide an additional source of current use funds for the Temple.  The fund is administered by the Board of Trustees and is to be used for operating expenses and appropriate non-capital projects (e.g. not building projects).  Various Temple committees rely upon this fund and as such, it has a direct impact on the entire congregation.

Capital Fund

This fund is used for repairs, maintenance and physical improvements to the Temple.  Each new Temple member unit is assessed a contribution to the Capital Fund, which is paid n the first full year of membership, but may also be paid in annual installments up to a five-year period.  Additional contributions help offset the potential need for additional capital assessments and may be made at any time.

Rabbi’s Fund

This fund is administered at the Rabbi’s discretion to provide additional professional materials or services and to make financial assistance available to individuals and causes deemed appropriate.  Contributions to this fund may be made in any amount at any time.

Nathan L. Reifler Memorial Library Fund

Donations to the Nathan Reifler Fund are used to purchase books, CD, publications and materials for our Temple and thereby build on the strong Jewish tradition of education, teaching and learning. Purchase decisions are made by our Rabbi and the Library Committee.  With a minimum contribution of $15, donors may request a bookplate noting the donor or honoree.

Community Tzedakah Fund

This fund supports Vassar Temple’s commitment to worthy organizations serving the needy in our community, particularly the Lunch Box program. In the event that insufficient food donations are made for a particular meal at the Lunch Box, money from this fund is used to offset expenses.

Groten Fund

The Groten Fund supports Social Action programming stemming from Vassar Temple and generally offsets expenses of the Social Action Committee. Expenditures from this fund are recommended by the Social Action Committee and approved by the Temple Board.

Trees in Israel Fund

Contributions are used to buy trees in Israel. A minimum donation of $18 is required. 

Robert H. Lipschutz Scholar’s Fund

This fund was established in memory of Robert H. Lipshultz to perpetuate the values and ideals he espoused. His dedication to Jewish education and community service translates to an award every other year to enable a Vassar Temple college-age student to pursue a special project in Jewish Studies and to funding for special music programs. A committee to determine the award is comprised of the Rabbi, the Educational Director and members of the Adult Education, Music and Youth Committees.

Andrew Erdreich Youth Education Fund

This fund honors the memory of Andrew Erdreich, an active member of the Youth Group who was also confirmed at Vassar Temple. Monies are used to benefit the children and young people of the congregation. Decisions about the specific use of the money will be made after consultations among the Rabbi, President, Treasurer and Director of Education.

Alexander D’Imperio Fund

This fund, honoring the memory of Alexander D’Imperio, sponsors supplementary educational experiences such as field trips and events of Jewish interest. The education of our Temple religious school students is enhanced by these special educational events.

Grandmother’s Fund

The Grandmother’s Fund was established by Dr. and Mrs. Albert Rosenberg to support programs and projects affecting the youth and children of Vassar Temple. Programs supported in the past include field trips, Shabbatons, Youth or Junior Youth Group activities. The authorizing committee is comprised of the President of the Board of Trustees, President of Sisterhood, Rabbi, chairperson of the Religious School Committee, the chairperson of the Youth Committee, and up to two additional people. The President of the Board will convene a meeting periodically, at least once a year, to determine which programs will be funded.

Mildred Gould Religious School Fund

This fund, established in memory of longtime beloved Temple member, Mildred Gould, is used to purchase materials for the Religious School based on a list of needed books and materials compiled by the Religious School Director. Donors can designate a specific item on the list or make a general gift to the fund. When appropriate, these materials will indicate the name of the contributor and/or the occasion for which the donation was made.

Paul Fa’gut Religious School Fund

This fund, honoring the memory of Paul Fa’gut, is used to purchase educational materials such as books, CDs and DVDs for the benefit of the 6th and 7th grade students in the Seth Erlebacher Religious School. The decision about the particular materials to be purchased each year will be made by the Director of Education.

Richard Satz Audio-Visual Fund

This fund honors the memory of Richard Satz, who was a prominent member of Vassar Temple. Donations are utilized to provide instructional media equipment for the Vassar Temple Religious School.

Music Fund

The Music Fund was established to support the musical programming at Vassar Temple. Expenditures from the fund are recommended by the Music Committee and approved by the Temple Board.

Prayer Book Fund

Vassar Temple’s regular prayer book is Mishkan T’filah, published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis in 2007. Through the generosity of Matthew and Muriel Lampell and Ralph and Marian Schwartz, the Temple was able to acquire a full set of the new siddurim as soon as they were published.  This is a current use fund and books purchased through it recognize the donors with a bookplate on the inside front cover of each book.  Those wishing to dedicate one or more copies in honor of a person or occasion, or in memory of a loved one, you may do so with a contribution of $36 per book, which funds the preservation of the new books and their replacement when necessary.

Vassar Temple Sisterhood General Fund

Donations “in appreciation” or “in memory” are accepted for the general fund for Sisterhood and may be used for a wide variety of purposes. Previous examples include offsetting the costs of Tiny Temple, supporting the Andrea Rabin Scholarship Fund (scholarships for teens to attend the National Federal of Temple Youth conclaves), and contributions to youth programming through the Youth Scholarship Fund (scholarships to attend summer camps with Jewish programming and also for programs in Israel).  Gifts of any amount may be made at any time.  Expenditure decisions are made by the Sisterhood leadership in discussion with the Temple Executive.

Endowment Fund

The endowment fund is a corpus of resources whose interest income provides a revenue stream that supplements dues and fund raising income to support religious, cultural, educational, social and other programming. In order to maintain the spending power of the endowment, only a portion of annual income is spent while the balance is reinvested in the principal.  Contributions to the Endowment Fund may be made as outright gifts during members’ lifetimes and as testamentary gifts through bequest provisions.  Gifts can be made in the form of cash, checks, stocks, bonds, real estate (both income and non-income producing), interests in family partnerships and life insurance policies.  Pledges may be made and fulfilled over a three-year period. A donor who makes a gift of $10,000 or more may designate the specific area to which the income generated by the gift shall be applied, and those funds shall be acknowledged in the donor’s name. Endowment gifts of less than $10,000 provide income that is used for the aforementioned purposes.  Gifts to the endowment (or any of the funds mentioned above) may be made anonymously. The Board serves as a gift acceptance committee on proposed contributions to the endowment, as necessary.  Under no circumstances shall the endowment Fund be commingled with those of any other fund.


The Temple is indebted to the generations of generous donors whose enduring support has sustained the vitality of our congregation.  I welcome questions or feedback from any members who wish to discuss any aspect of their philanthropic support of Vassar Temple.  

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  1. 2016 Vassar Temple President’s Report at Annual Congregational Meeting 6.15.16 | Vassar Temple Blog

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