Endowment Leadership Institute participation empowers Jewish organizations to focus on building their long-term sustainability.

In April 2004, we launched an unprecedented program for the Jewish community – the Endowment Leadership Institute (ELI). Initially bringing together 12 Jewish organizations, synagogues, and day schools, we soon discovered that multiple organizations could successfully collaborate towards the common goal of establishing endowments for the long-term vitality of our Jewish community.

ELI provides training, consulting, coaching and marketing as part of a comprehensive, high-quality, results-oriented program for professionals and lay leaders.

Today, over 1,300 individuals and families have committed to legacies that will yield an estimated $200 million dollars to ensure a vibrant Jewish future.

For current participants: Log in to access ELI Materials below

My organization is interested in participating. How do I learn more?

Estela Mitrani

Estela Mitrani,
Legacy Program Manager


Sharleen Wallach

Sharleen Wollach,
Executive Vice President and Chief Impact Officer


The Endowment Leadership Institute In Action

Bringing the Jewish community together to build a culture of legacy giving

Community Testimonials
Thank you so much for training me to make legacy asks and put a Legacy Society front and center in our Strategic Plan.

ELI Participant

ELI is a jewel and an example of the visionary leadership of JCF. It fosters cooperation and presents well-planned programs.

ELI Participant

ELI opened up a whole new world of possibilities. A collective power comes from being with other organizations.

ELI Participant

ELI Objectives and Program Information

1 Secure Bequests

To secure bequests from members of the Jewish community that will be used for endowments.

2 Develop Strong Skills

To develop strong leadership and technical skills in securing bequests and building endowments.

3 Build Public Awareness

To build awareness about the power of bequests and endowments to ensure the long-term stability of our Jewish organizations.

4 Strengthen Fundraising Efforts

To move our community’s fundraising efforts from a short-term, annual, urgent focus to a long-term, strategic, planned focus.

What the ELI Program Includes

The ELI curriculum emphasizes the importance of organizations building positive, trusting relationships with donors. These relationships can help donors achieve their charitable goals by providing long-term support for the organizations they love.

ELI is the educational component of the Create a Jewish Legacy program of the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego and includes:

  • Training sessions
  • Roundtables on selected specialty topics and for organizations to share successes and challenges
  • Individual bequest plans including goals and timetables
  • Ongoing coaching to address specific needs
  • Sharing of best practices in legacy giving and stewardship
  • Back office planned giving technical support and maintenance of documentation
  • Annual community-wide Legacy Appreciation Donor Event
  • Book of Life Ceremonies and Video Interviews
  • Community-wide Create a Jewish Legacy marketing campaign
ELI Training Sessions

The Foundation offers several ELI Workshops each year.  Organizations learn with and from each other, in the spirit of cooperation and partnership. JCF engages national consultants and local experts to lead training sessions in the following areas:

  • Understanding endowments, planned giving, and the importance of wills, trusts, and beneficiary designation forms
  • Establishing lay and staff leadership roles, and building an ELI Team for each organization
  • Identifying, cultivating, and soliciting prospects with role playing exercises and sharing of successes and challenges
  • Building a legacy database
  • The necessity of formalizing charitable intentions
  • Maintaining an active Legacy Society
  • Stewarding, recognizing, and following up with donors
ELI Partners

Day schools, synagogues, and Jewish agencies are invited to participate in the ELI program. Each organization builds a strong team of professional and lay leaders. Synagogues span the range of denominations, working together to achieve the common goal of a strong and vibrant community.

Anti-Defamation League
Beth Jacob Congregation
Camp Mountain Chai
Chabad at La Costa
Congregation Adat Yeshurun
Congregation Beth Am
Congregation Beth El
Congregation Beth Israel
Congregation Dor Hadash
Friends of the Israel Defense Forces
Friendship Circle
Hillel of San Diego
Jewish Family Service
Jewish Federation of San Diego County
Ken Jewish Community
Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center
Ner Tamid Synagogue
Ohr Shalom Synagogue
San Diego Jewish Academy
Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School
Temple Adat Shalom
Temple Emanu-El
Temple Solel
Tifereth Israel Synagogue
Gail Littman Living Legacy Endowment Fund

The Gail Littman Living Legacy Endowment Fund honors the memory of Gail Littman, her vision in creating the ELI program and expanding it to other communities, her leadership at the Jewish Community Foundation, and the incredible impact she made in Jewish legacy giving.

Gail Littman was one of the pioneers of the Jewish community legacy movement. Along with Marjory Kaplan, former CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, and Jane Scher, JCF Board Chair at the time, Gail founded San Diego’s Endowment Leadership Institute. Gail trained and coached professionals and lay leaders in the art of legacy conversations and donor stewardship. In a short time, Gail’s efforts in San Diego gained attention and she was asked to share her success with other communities in what has now become a national model. Following Gail’s untimely passing in 2012, her family and friends established the Gail Littman Living Legacy Endowment Fund to provide support for charitable programs assisting with building, strengthening and sustaining Jewish community.

Sheila Potiker Endowment Leadership Fund

The Sheila Potiker Endowment Leadership Fund honors the memory of Sheila Potiker and her contributions to the ELI program, her leadership at the Jewish Community Foundation, and the deep and meaningful way she changed the San Diego Jewish community for the better.

In 2014, in conjunction with the relaunch of the Endowment Leadership Institute (ELI) program, the Sheila Potiker Endowment Leadership Fund was created. Established by the Potiker family, this fund supports participating ELI organizations that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to their Create a Jewish Legacy endowment building programs. Annual distributions from the fund have been used for awards and incentive grants designated for professional development, donor recognition, or other endowment building efforts.