A group of people volunteering with the Jewish Family Services food bank Thanksgiving Drive

Carrying on a family tradition of philanthropy

For Justin Levy, philanthropy is a family tradition that can be traced back to his family’s arrival in Colorado in the early 20th century from Germany. Justin’s grandfather, Jack Levy, was a respected philanthropist and member of the board of trustees at General Rose Memorial Hospital, an institution known for its philanthropic work and commitment to serving all.

“I am inspired by members of my family who came to this country to not only provide for their family, but also with a clear focus on bettering the lives of their employees and people in their community,” said Justin.

While his professional roots are in entertainment marketing, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Justin to reconsider the ways in which he could contribute to his own community. In 2021, Justin received a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Regis University and is now the Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts and the President of the Raphael Levy Memorial Foundation.

The Raphael Levy Memorial Foundation (RLMF) is a family foundation that makes philanthropic contributions in part through a donor-advised fund housed at Rose Community Foundation. “There have been many interesting and challenging situations where it is was overwhelming to determine where to start,” says Justin. “We feel fortunate that we’ve been able to partner with Rose and utilize the experts on the Foundation’s team to make informed grant decisions.”

The RLMF focuses their greater philanthropic efforts on several categories including civil rights, education, health, environment, arts and culture and the State of Israel. Justin and his family are guided by the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam and a desire to advance social justice and celebrate diversity.

From left: Hannah, Edward, Ruth, Jack and Kate Levy

“There are essentially three branches of the family that are represented by our donor-advised fund,” says Justin. “Depending on the sector we are exploring, we will go to various members of the family who have a deep interest in those areas to gather information. We’ve found that engaging those who have a passion is the best way to involve family in this process.”

Recently, the hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic motivated the Levy family to increase their giving. “If we’re not liberally dispersing funds in times of incredible hardship, when would we?” explains Justin. To decide where to best allocate their resources, Justin and his family looked to Rose Community Foundation for guidance. In 2021, RLMF made grants to the Colorado Afghan Evacuee Support Fund and the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, among others. “Without a strong community, we are all lacking,” says Justin. “I hope our family continues to take care of those who are in need. That was our family’s intent when our family foundation was created and what inspires me to help today.”

For those looking to get involved in their communities, Justin emphasizes the importance of contributing beyond financial giving. “You don’t need to have a donor-advised fund or money in the bank to make a difference,” said Justin. “I have been amazed with all the ways a person can contribute. If you can find the time to volunteer or help three times a year or three time a week – there is a need for people to provide what they can.”

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