Longtime Volunteers Now Endowing Future of the Austin Jewish Community

Longtime Volunteers Now Endowing Future of the Austin Jewish Community

Fran and Dan Hamermesh came to Austin in 1993 with a long history of Jewish philanthropy and volunteering, supporting their communities, Israel, youth education and activities with a commitment to social justice worldwide, such as Mazon and American Jewish World Service. In Austin they have served on synagogue boards and committees as well as the Jewish Family Service Board, the Jewish Federation Board prior to the creation of the JCAA and more recently on the Shalom Austin Board, the DJCC Board and the first cabinet of the Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation of Austin and Central Texas. Fran and Dan find themselves very fortunately sandwiched between their parents’ and their children’s commitments to Jewish philanthropy and involvement in the Jewish community including Zionist summer camps, Jewish retirement communities and rehab hospitals, day schools, summer camps, community centers and youth groups.  

Dan says, “We feel a responsibility to the future. Our connection to Judaism is fundamental, not only our basic belief in Jewish law and tradition, but also our sense of belonging to the Jewish community wherever we are; our sense of social justice and tzedakah; our connections to Jewish history and to Israel. We see the important role that synagogues, summer camps, Jewish day schools and Jewish community centers and Israel all play in sustaining our Jewish identity.  We cannot preserve this heritage simply by maintaining the status quo. We have to act now to endow the future.”

As Fran worked with the newly established Jewish Foundation, the couple felt that their best contribution would be helping to create an unrestricted permanent endowment fund. In communities where they have lived and in their work, Fran says, “We have seen the value of endowments, setting aside and preserving funds for the future.” Their gift creates a community-wide legacy fund, an opportunity for anyone to give any amount that will be invested for the future of the community at large: The Jewish Community Endowment Fund.

The Jewish Foundation has the ability to sustain and invigorate the entire Jewish community. Its most important goals are to work for, to grow and to sustain the vitality and values of Judaism for the Jewish community and the community at large. No matter what their particular passions and concerns everyone will have the opportunity to contribute and to build a future for Jewish Austin.

An unrestricted permanent endowment fund provides the financial support to achieve these goals and allows the funds to be spent in ways best suited for achieving this goal.  

Donations to the Jewish Community Endowment Fund may come in any amount from donations and grants including those from individuals, families and others, corporations, trusts and foundations, donor advised funds and tribute gifts. These funds will be invested, and after the fund reaches a certain level, investment income will be available for distribution in the form of grants to non-profit organizations evaluated on the basis of responses to Requests for Proposals from the Jewish Foundation.  All those contributing to the fund will be acknowledged as “donors” without distinction as to amount given though the Jewish Foundation Cabinet may in the future adopt a policy acknowledging extraordinary gifts to the Jewish Community Endowment Fund. ■

The Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation helps sustain a vibrant and secure Jewish community through philanthropy, now and for future generations. The Jewish Foundation works in partnership with the Austin Community Foundation in fostering philanthropy, ensuring your investments flourish and making a meaningful difference in the programs and traditions you value most. Gifts to the Jewish Foundation can be arranged in several ways, the most common being through charitable gifts. This gift may be in the form of cash or stock, a will or living trust, donor-advised funds, bequests, life insurance policies, retirement plans, or real estate. shalomaustin.org/foundation; (512) 735-8010; foundation@shalomaustin.org.


Arthur and Barbara Altman Philanthropic Fund
Brittman Family Fund
Leslie S. Brittman Literary Fund
Beth & Erik Cohen Family Fund
Epstein Family Fund
Sandra and Buddy Freed Family Fund
Dochen Family Fund
Edward & Cindy Fudman Family Fund
Don Grefe & Janice Pierce Charitable Fund
Gremont Family Foundation Fund
Andrea and Walter Kalmans Family Fund
Ladd Family Charitable Fund
Leon & Laraine Lasdon Family Fund
Wade & Sally Monroe Family     Foundation Fund
Cynthia and Sanford Levinson Fund
Melanie Carol Lewis Fund
Charles & Diane Radin Fund
Solka Family Fund
Joe & Fai Lee Steinberg Fund
Stuart and Elisabeth Wallock Fund
Torah U-Mada Fund
Winer Charitable Fund

Jewish Foundation of Austin & Central Texas

Jewish Community Endowment Fund (Fran & Dan Hamermesh – Founders)

Congregation Beth Israel Funds
Rose Dornbusch Youth Experience Scholarship Fund
Michael “Mickey” Deutsch Beautification Fund
Faye Gellman Yought Education Fund
Earl Podolnick Eternal Light Fund
Alan Lawrence Schechter Continuing Education Endowment Fund

Shalom Austin Funds
Generations Facility Fund
Hymie & Louise Samuelson ECP Fund
Hymie & Louise Samuelson Young Leadership
Award Fund
JCAA Facilities Fund
JCAA Sandy Gottesman Education Fund
Jay Rubin Israel Experience Fund
Sigma Delta Tau, Tau Chapter Fund

Garber Family Endowment Fund for Children’s Performing & Fine Arts Programs

Shalom Austin’s  Generations Campaign Launches Community-Wide Effort with $18.75 Million Pledged to Date

Shalom Austin’s Generations Campaign Launches Community-Wide Effort with $18.75 Million Pledged to Date

B’nai Abraham Brenham Historic Synagogue Receives Stewardship Award

B’nai Abraham Brenham Historic Synagogue Receives Stewardship Award