Major Gift Will Secure TJFS’ Long-Term Ability to Help Those in Need in Tampa Bay

TAMPA, May 2, 2022 – Tampa Jewish Family Services (TJFS) announced today that the agency received an unprecedented $1 Million gift from local philanthropist, Adele Bernett, the largest donation in the 68-year history of the organization.  This transformational gift was bequeathed by Bernett in her will. 

The agency will name its Legacy Society in honor of the donor as the “Tampa Jewish Family Services Adele Bernett Legacy Society.”  TJFS’ Legacy Society is a group of persons who pledge to bequeath donations to TJFS in their wills or estate plans.

The gift will be used to establish an endowment reserve and managed funds at the Community Foundation Tampa Bay and with TOP Jewish Foundation to secure the work of the agency for many years to come.  Investment gains from the funds will also be used to hire additional staff that will support the ever-increasing need for psychological counseling, food bank distributions, and financial assistance that are provided to Tampa area residents. 

“I worked with Adele for many years and am going to see to it that her legacy of love lives on in the Tampa Bay community,” said Simon Canasi, Bernett’s estate executor. “With strong roots in her Jewish faith, it was important for Adele to see those principles be passed along for generations to come, and in TJFS she found an organization that embodies those ideals of helping others.”

Bernett’s gift to TJFS was the largest single contribution from her estate. She also gave to several other community organizations, including the Bay Pines Foundation, Friends of Tampa Firefighters, the Gold Shield Foundation, HCC Foundation, Sant’Yago Education Foundation and more. Bernett grew up in Florida and was employed with the University of South Florida for many years as an Associate Controller in Finance and Accounting and then worked at Moffitt Cancer Center as Director of Finance until her retirement.

“We, on behalf of our clients, are so grateful to Ms. Bernett for this extremely generous gift, and we will work hard to make her proud of the legacy that she has given us,” said Dr. Beth Ann Gemunder, TJFS CEO.  “In the last few years, we have seen an unprecedented increase in the need for all our services, which has only continued to grow. This gift, along with the ongoing support of our Legacy Society members and our other donors, will help ensure that Tampa Jewish Family Services will continue to prosper into the future and that we will be well-positioned to meet this ever-growing need.” 

“This gift will be of enormous help to Tampa Jewish Family Services and to the Tampa community that we serve,” said Andrew Titen, TJFS Board President. “With Ms. Bernett’s unprecedented generosity, we will be able to continue to meet the pressing needs of the community and the future demands for our services for years to come. We hope the generosity of Adele Bernett’s gift will also inspire other community members to leave funds in their estate plans that will help our agency continue its important work in the Tampa area.”

Members of the TJFS Adele Bernett Legacy Society are honored by TJFS annually, both at events and in TJFS’ written materials, for their strong commitment to the agency’s work.   To donate to TJFS or its endowment funds, or for further information on the TJFS Adele Bernett Legacy Society, please contact TJFS at (813) 960-1848.