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About Us

Making a difference down the street and across the globe.

For over 25 years the Jewish Foundation of Memphis has led our Jewish community in all aspects of charitable giving by supporting agencies, synagogues and schools, and inspiring donors of all ages.

Our Mission

Encourage Charitable Giving


Support  Partner Agency Endowment Development


BuildSustain a Vibrant Jewish Community


Our Beginnings

Individuals can make a difference; together we change the world.

Since its inception, the Jewish Foundation of Memphis has worked to secure the financial future of our local Jewish community. Chartered as Jewish Community Development, Inc. on September 7, 1995, by the State of Tennessee, the Jewish Foundation of Memphis began its mission to raise endowment funds for the long-term planning goals of its participating agencies in the Memphis Jewish community and to engage Jewish families in setting and achieving charitable goals.

Establishing the Jewish Foundation of Memphis was an undertaking spearheaded by Steve Graber and Ronald Harkavy, who served as the organization’s first president. The initial board of directors was comprised of the following individuals each of whom exhibited a high level of commitment to a secure financial future for the Memphis Jewish community: Ron Belz, Susan Chase, Mike Goldstein, Steve Graber, Mark Halperin, Ben Isenberg z”l, Diane Mendelson, Hal Newburger, Max Ostrow, Nancy Robinson, Steve Wishnia, Ed Young

With support from a Plough Foundation grant, the Jewish Foundation of Memphis began fundraising in support of ten partner agencies, partnerships which continue today.

The Jewish Foundation of Memphis has seen phenomenal growth in assets since its 1995 charter. As of 2022, assets managed by the Foundation now exceed $110,000,000.

“The Jewish Foundation of Memphis has brought together all of our institutions under one umbrella for the economic viability and stability of our community for generations to come. For the future, all would hope that the work of the Foundation would empower each institution to assure that Jewish priorities and values will not be compromised by the need for funding. We can only remain strong if our values remain strong.”

Ronald HarkavyFoundation Board Chair, 1995-2001

Foundation Team

Laura Linder

President and
Chief Executive Officer

Sheri Gadberry

Senior Philanthropic Officer 
and Executive Vice President

Larry Schaffer

Senior Philanthropic Advisor

Jessica Weiss

Executive Assistant

Carolyn Schrier

B’nai Tzedek Advisor

Current Jewish Foundation of Memphis Board 2022

Chair: Jason Salomon

Secretary and Chair-Elect: Pace Cooper
Vice Chair Finance: Lawson Arney
Vice Chair Investment: Elkan Scheidt
Chair Appointee: Laurie Meskin
Term expiring June 2024:

Rick Fogelman, Reed Landau, Anthony Morrison, Jason Salomon

Term expiring June 2025:

Larson Arney, Pace Cooper, Ron Lazarov, Elkan Scheidt

Agency Appointees to JFOM Board: 

A. Jay Cohen, Beth Sholom Synagogue

Judy Bookman, Memphis Jewish Community Center

Marlene Gerson, Memphis Jewish Federation

Helen Gronauer, Temple Israel

Emily Lennon, Margolin Hebrew Academy/Feinstone Yeshiva of the South

Alla Olswanger Lubin, Bornblum Jewish Community School

Jonathan Epstein, Anshei Sphard-Beth El Emeth Cemetary & Charitable Foundation

Judy Royal, Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab

Elaine Wagner Skopp, Baron Hirsch Congregation