Temple Beth Israel of Longboat Key Awarded $55,000 Multi-Year Grant from Community Foundation of Sarasota County in Memory of Local Philanthropist to Encourage Scholarship and Connection

Categories: BELONGING AND CULTURE: Uniting Community, Grants,

Funding from the Charlotte P. Graver Fund will support a scholar in residence for six years and provide virtual learning opportunities to connect community.

SARASOTA, FL – Temple Beth Israel of Longboat Key has been awarded a multi-year grant of $55,000 from the Charlotte P. Graver Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The funding will help connect the community through scholarship and learning opportunities by supporting a scholar-in-residence for six years as well as provide online learning opportunities through 92nd Street Y, a nonprofit community and cultural center that encourages people of all ages, races, faiths, and backgrounds to connect through culture, arts, entertainment and conversation.

“Temple Beth Israel has a tradition of placing high value on scholarly discourse by encouraging the community at large to participate, once a year and free of charge, in an extensive study over a three-day weekend with a world class Jewish Scholar,” said Isaac Azerad, Executive Director of Temple Beth Israel. “Additionally, and for several years, we had the privilege of building a solid following to our 92Y program, at times gathering as much as 380 people in our sanctuary. Those programs are gifted to the community at great expense. Once more, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has come in support of this noble effort.”

The foundation and temple were brought together through a mutual relationship with local philanthropist Charlotte Graver (1928-2015), a longtime resident of Longboat Key and active member of the area Jewish community. Upon moving to Sarasota from New York, Graver joined Temple Beth Israel as a regular member and eventually served as Treasurer of Jewish Family & Children’s Services of the Suncoast in the early 2000s. Beginning in 2005, Graver created several funds with the Community Foundation with the purpose of strengthening causes related to elder care, Jewish family services, cancer research, the arts, and community health care.

The 92Y program is available, free of charge, to the entire community. The first session will take place virtually on October 21 and will continue until February 17. There will be nine presentations, each followed by a zoom discussion. From January 29-31, 2021, Temple Beth Israel will invite Dr. Andrew Rehfeld as its Scholar in Residence. Dr. Rehfeld serves as the tenth President of the Hebrew Union College Institute of Religion, and is a former Associate Professor of Political Science at Washington University (2000 to 2019) and president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Saint Louis (2012-2019). Pre-registration to both programs is required at www.tbi-lbk.org.

Since its establishment as a Field of Interest fund in 2008, the Charlotte P. Graver Fund has provided nearly $700,000 through 43 grants supporting local medical programs, Jewish organizations, and human services. In addition to Temple Beth Israel, former grantees include The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, Jewish Family & Children’s Services of the Suncoast, and Season of Sharing.

“Legacies like Charlotte’s create long-lasting opportunities for people,” said Roxie Jerde, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “Like so many generous individuals, Charlotte Graver believed in the power of giving to others to strengthen our community, both in her lifetime and in the future. It is our privilege to steward her vision and be a partner with Temple Beth Israel in this endeavor to benefit others with her timeless gifts.”

Graver passed away in November 2015 at the age of 87 years old. She is survived by her two daughters, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She was a former homemaker, guidance counselor, and self-taught stock investor.

Since 1979, Temple Beth Israel of Longboat Key has connected members of the Jewish faith with meaningful services and fellowship to foster a spiritual life. As our community navigates the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, Temple Beth Israel is providing weekly virtual activities to its congregants and visitors via its Youtube channel and Facebook. To learn more, visit https://tbi-lbk.org/.


About the Community Foundation of Sarasota County: The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. With assets of $418 million in more than 1,500 charitable funds, the Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling $21.5 million dollars last year in the areas of education, the arts, health and human services, civic engagement, animal welfare and the environment. Since its founding, the Community Foundation has been able to grant more than $274 million to area nonprofit organizations to our community thanks to the generosity of charitable individuals, families, and businesses. For more information, visit www.CFSarasota.org or call (941) 955-3000.