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The couple hopes their gift, made through the Jewish Community Foundation, will inspire others to feed the hungry and support additional high-quality programs in our community.

Jewish tradition teaches that one of our duties is to make the world a better place now and for future generations. Louis and Evelyn Cohen have taken that duty to heart. They established the Evelyn & Louis Cohen Endowment for the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry for the express purpose of buying food.

Lou and Evelyn both agree that “A person can have no dignity unless he or she has a place to live, food to eat and clothing.” So, the Cohens did something they’ve never done before. After years of giving to Jewish Federation, the Cohens felt it was time to do more — in addition to supporting the Community Campaign. They wanted to give a significant gift that would inspire others to do the same.

The endowment from the Cohens came about as an outgrowth of a series of conversations with Barry Rosenberg, former Jewish Federation president and CEO, about how they could support the Jewish community on a permanent basis. Over the years, the Cohens, who are active in the St. Louis Jewish community, talked about community needs and what they could do to help. They had been meeting with Rosenberg on an ongoing basis to chat, and felt a strong sense of responsibility to do something that would have impact and meaning now as well as after they are no longer here.

Their endowment reflects some of the issues the Cohens value most. Food has always been a part of their lives as part owners of Allen Foods Inc. This was an extension of their interest in nutrition, hunger prevention and social justice. This idea to endow the Food purchasing aspect of the Jewish Food Pantry seemed to be a perfect match for them. By creating this endowment, they are making a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of hungry St. Louisans.

The Jewish Food Pantry distributes 90,000 pounds of food a month which feeds 5,000 people or 1,200 families from 110 zip codes. Cost of food from the Food Pantry for a family for 15 days averages $14.50. “There will always be a need to feed the hungry. Our hope is that others will join us in supporting this very important and life-saving effort,” said Lou.

An endowment of this type, which is a permanent fund of the Jewish Community Foundation, allows donors with a special passion or interest to permanently designate the beneficiary or beneficiaries of a gift at the time it is made. The principal in the fund remains intact, producing an income to be perpetually distributed according to the donors’ wishes. By making the gift during their lifetime, the donors receive a charitable income tax deduction. And, the fund will perpetuate their family name and Jewish values long beyond their lifetime.

To set up an endowment or any planned gift, contact Wendy Rosenblum, Associate Director of Development, Endowments & Planned Giving, 314.442.3816 or wrosenblum@jfedstl.org.

The Jewish Community Foundation of St. Louis is a Jewish Federation service launched in 2005 to serve as the central place for long-term planned giving, to attract more endowments and build permanent community resources within one endowment structure. It is backed by 100+ years of Federation’s service as a trustee of the St. Louis Jewish community’s funds.