A Fond Farewell to an Amazing Community

A Fond Farewell to an Amazing Community: Looking Back and Looking Ahead by Scott Kaplan

As I reflect upon the past nearly 5 years serving as President & CEO of YOUR Tidewater Jewish Foundation (TJF), I feel proud, humbled, and grateful to this community for providing me and my family with this incredible opportunity to make an impact here and for what we have accomplished together. Growing up in a larger Jewish community in the northeast, I didn’t realize (at first) how special and strong this community is. I knew that it was a small, close-knit group with a rich heritage and tradition of welcoming outsiders. I have grown to appreciate the strength, generosity and collaborative nature of the Tidewater Jewish community and am proud of what we have achieved in a short period of time.

As I look forward to the next chapter of our lives as I become the Foundation Director of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and the opportunity to live close by family, we will certainly look back upon these years filled with wonderful memories, friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime. This community is remarkable in its size and strength and should not be taken for granted.

Within the past 5 years, YOUR Tidewater Jewish Foundation has launched or re-launched the following programs and initiatives to engage different members and generations of the community and to strengthen our TOMORROW, TODAY. Here are just a few of the results we have achieved to date:


        o  $20M raised from nearly 500 new Legacy commitments in less than 3 years

-  B’nai Tzedek Teen Philanthropy

        o  20 new teen mini-Donor Advised Funds established

-  Emerging Philanthropists Council

        o  15 teens engaged in new communal giving and educational opportunity

-  One Happy Camper

        o  40 grants provided to families to send their kids to Jewish overnight camp

-  Simon Family Passport to Israel reconstituted

        o  23 youths to various Israel travel and study experiences

-  Donor Advised Funds Match

        o  36 New Donor Advised Funds with $2 million in assets

-  Legacy Life Insurance Premium Match

        o  17 New Life Insurance Policies which will create $6.2 Million in future gifts for the benefit of dozens of Jewish organizations

-  Managed Assets have grown from $94M to $112M

-  Adjusted and right-sized (reduced) our fee structure for our foundation and local affiliate agency endowments to help distribute more funds to the local community

-  Approval to offer new investment options for our Donor Advised Fund program, with more information to come shortly

Thanks to the active engagement of so many individuals and organizations from across the region, we have been able to make an impact TODAY in order to have a better TOMORROW. I have seen organizations put together teams of volunteers to strengthen the future. I have seen families step up to create funds with their teens. This community is incredibly strong and is special. I am proud to say that I had the opportunity to make a small impact here and will be forever grateful to the people of Tidewater and the relationships formed.

I only hope that I left the organization in better shape than when I started. I am proud of the team which was in place and has evolved over the past 5 years.

While the TJF Board’s Executive Transition/Search Committee is currently working to secure a permanent replacement CEO under the leadership of Board Chair Lawrence Steingold, I am leaving the TJF in great shape with Randy Parrish, VP and CFO serving as the Interim-CEO. Randy knows the community well and has been with the team for more than 10 years and previously served in an interim capacity 5 years ago. Craig Bailey, Controller, has been with TJF for more than 11 years and has been a steadfast member of the team with financial oversight. Ann Swindell, Donor Services Coordinator, has been with TJF for the past 3 years and holds our team together and works closely with our donors. The newest member of our team, Kaitlyn Oelsner, joined the team in March bringing great energy, skills and abilities. She has proven herself and will now be a key point of contact for our affiliates and our donor community in her role as Director of Philanthropy.

Your TJF team can be contacted as follows:

·Randy Parrish, rparrish@ujft.org, (757) 965-6104 – Vice President & CFO and Interim-CEO

·Kaitlyn Oelsner, koelsner@ujft.org, (757) 965-6103 – Director of Philanthropy

·Craig Bailey, cbailey@ujft.org, (757) 965-6108 –  Controller

·Ann Swindell, aswindell@ujft.org, (757) 965-6106 – Donor Services Coordinator

You welcomed the Kaplan Family to Tidewater with open arms and for that we will be eternally grateful and appreciative.


Scott Kaplan