Jewish Family Service Raises $1.1 Million at Annual Heart & Soul Gala

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Ashley Weaver | Gala Chairs Kira Finkenberg, Danielle Sicklick, Loretta Adams

Gala Chairs Kira Finkenberg, Danielle Sicklick and Loretta H. Adams.

Jewish Family Service of San Diego raised more than $1.1 million at its annual Heart & Soul Gala at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine on April 1. Guests participated in a silent auction with more than 100 packages and raised their paddles in a “Fund-A-Mitzvah” that included a $200,000 donation match by Honorary Chairs Ernest & Evelyn Rady.

“We are deeply humbled by the outpouring of generosity from our community, whose investment offers a way forward to thousands of individuals and families who turn to JFS when hope feels out of reach,” said JFS CEO Michael Hopkins.

With more than 500 guests, community leaders, and partners in attendance, the event also celebrated the contributions of the 2017 Mitzvah Honorees:

  • Edward Carnot and Louis Vener for envisioning and leading the effort to significantly expand JFS’s Kearny Mesa headquarters into a community campus that positions the agency to meet the future needs of the community.
  • Barbara and Mathew Loonin for their support of JFS’s nutrition services, including the creation of a state-of-the-art Loonin Family Kitchen that produces more than 84,000 healthy, kosher, hot meals for older adults each year.
  • National Charity League – San Dieguito Chapter for the hundreds of hours its members have dedicated volunteering in the JFS Hand Up Youth Food Pantry, enabling JFS to provide more than 258,000 bags of food annually to people in need throughout the community.

Organized by Gala Chairs Loretta H. Adams, Kira Finkenberg, and Danielle Sicklick, the “Ignite the Moment” themed evening included dinner, dancing and a celebration of JFS’s success building a stronger, healthier, more resilient San Diego over the last 99 years.

More than 95 underwriters generously supported the event, including Charitable Adult Rides & Services, Inc. (CARS) and a longtime anonymous JFS donor as Presenting Underwriters. Dinner Underwriters included Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Marie G. Raftery and Dr. Robert A. Rubenstein, and U.S. Bank. Heart of the Family underwriters included Barbara Barsky; Jamie, Bryce, and Tyler Carr; Pamela and Edward Carnot; Cohn Family Foundation; Lisa and Gary Levine; Arthur J. Gallagher & Co; Barbara and Mathew Loonin; Sarah z”l and Nessim Tiano; UC San Diego; Erna z”l and Andrew Viterbi.

All proceeds from the event will benefit JFS’s ongoing programs to empower individuals and families, support aging with dignity, and foster community connection and engagement across San Diego.

To learn more, visit

About Jewish Family Service

Since 1918, Jewish Family Service of San Diego has been a trusted community resource for individuals and families working to build better lives. Operating throughout San Diego County and the Coachella Valley, the agency’s integrated services are focused around three goals: Empower Individuals & Families to Move Toward Self-Sufficiency, Support Aging With Dignity, and Foster Community Connection & Engagement. Many people first turn to Jewish Family Service with a specific need, such as job coaching or transportation, and that first contact often leads to a wide range of services, including counseling, education, nutritious meals, social connection, and more. JFS was named a 2016 California Nonprofit of the Year and has earned a ninth consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator that highlights the work of efficient, ethical and open charities. To get help, volunteer, or to learn how JFS empowers change in our community, visit


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