How is one person’s legacy continued through an organization he never even heard of? That’s the story of Jewish philanthropy and the importance that friends, multi-generational families, and organizations like the Atlanta Jewish Foundation play.
Dr. Craig C. White moved to Atlanta in 1978 to start at Emory University School of Medicine. While in graduate school he met Joel Arogeti, who was enrolled at Emory’s Law School. The two became fast friends. Tragically, Craig passed away in December 2020 and later Joel, serving as his estate’s lawyer and advisor, approached the Atlanta Jewish Foundation to honor his memory by supporting Craig’s values. As part of their research, Joel and the Atlanta Jewish Foundation wisely consulted the next generation of leadership in our Jewish community for the right giving opportunity.
“If we want to ensure a Jewish future, we need to talk directly to those younger than us about what matters to them,” said Joel. “I knew of the great work The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta had done to incubate Repair the World through donor stewardship and with an investment from its Innovation Fund. Knowing Craig, it became instantly clear that he would have loved the work of Repair the World and would want it to thrive in Atlanta.”
“Craig was a quintessential hippie, and he had a common love of people and humanity,” remembers Joel. During his second year of medical school, Craig self-diagnosed with cancer, which was later confirmed by his doctor. He managed this health crisis with the support of family members and many friends, including his mentor, Dr. Mel Moore, and his wife, Ellen. Dr. White’s commitment to service was fueled by the Moores’ leadership, including Ellen’s role as the founder of Jewish Family & Career Services PAL Program, Atlanta’s only Jewish “Big Brother/Big Sister” program.
Repair the World Atlanta speaks to so many of Dr. White’s values. After medical school, Craig worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the AIDS Epidemic. He later opened his own company focused on giving jobs to people having trouble finding employment, including many in the LGBTQ+ community as well as people with chronic diseases.
Repair the World, with its mission to mobilize Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world, had the potential to ignite a lifelong commitment to service. By engaging Jews in acts of service, its impact goes beyond the Jewish world to include Atlanta organizations working toward housing, food, and education justice.
Though Craig never engaged with Repair the World during his lifetime, and never specified the organization to receive his legacy gift, he placed his trust in Joel and the Atlanta Jewish Foundation to manage his legacy. Atlanta Jewish Foundation’s mission is to support its fundholders, not only with financial expertise, but to be diligent in serving as a philanthropic advisor to support causes that matter most.
The funding for Repair the World could not have come at a better time. Since its inception, Atlanta Repair has engaged 6,703 participants in 12,351 acts of service and learning, contributing 22,406 hours of service to nonprofit partners and the broader Atlanta community, equivalent to $671,058 in volunteer time. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization quickly launched a Service Corps for young adults to commit to 100 hours of service and learning over a semester while continuing its signature Fellowship program which has extended from 11 months to 2 years, with additional service and learning programming.
“Repair the World is a powerful national network of service for the Jewish community,” Repair the World’s CEO Cindy Greenberg shared. “When we launched Repair the World in Atlanta in 2018, we relied on local partners like the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta to help us find our way within this generous community. That partnership has remained strong as they have walked alongside us since the beginning and supported us as we expanded, thanks to Dr. White’s incredible gift. I certainly wish I could thank Dr. White directly, and I am grateful that the Jewish community has organizations like the Atlanta Jewish Foundation and its donors and advisors who recommend and place their trust in Repair the World.”