Jim Heldman, Wendy Saunders, and Jan Armstrong Cobb were honored at the 25th Annual Voices of Giving Awards for their deep commitment and generosity to Cincinnati’s Jewish community


Submitted by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati

Twenty-six local philanthropists were recently honored at the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council’s 25th Annual Voices of Giving Awards for their generous planned gifts to 17 local causes. The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati were thrilled to honor three of our community members.

This year, the Federation nominated Jim Heldman and Wendy Saunders. Jim’s family has been a central part of the Cincinnati Jewish community for more than 150 years. Jim and Wendy have called Cincinnati home, together, since 1981. Since their move back, they have been active members of the Jewish community. Jim has been active on countless boards and committees, including currently serving on the Federation’s Board of Trustees and Planned Giving and Endowment Leadership Committee. Wendy has enjoyed engaging with the community, including serving a term on Amberley Village Council and helping a newly arrived Russian family adapt to life in Cincinnati.

Together, Jim and Wendy have supported a multitude of Jewish causes and organizations, encompassing what it means to be a true advocate, serving the community today, but also having the foresight to understand the importance of legacy giving to building a stronger community in the future. Their decision to leave a portion of their estate to fund a legacy gift will perpetuate their annual generosity to the Jewish community, including the Federation. Their decision to establish an endowment fund at the Jewish Federation means their generosity will continue to support the fabric of the Jewish community.

Jim stated, “As a fourth-generation member of the Jewish community in Cincinnati, Wendy and I have always deeply appreciated the importance of the vitality and long-term continuity of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati as it builds a flourishing, diverse Jewish community for future generations.”

In addition to Jim and Wendy, Jan Armstrong Cobb was nominated by the Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati (JCGC).

Jan Armstrong Cobb has made a generous bequest to Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati through the Create Your Jewish Legacy program, with the knowledge that this bequest will be allocated to its endowment fund to help preserve and sustain the cemeteries. Her gift will help enable JCGC to continue to honor our community’s forebears, provide burial services (including for those unable to afford burial services), and preserve and honor Jewish religious traditions and heritage.

Jan has a long history of volunteerism in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities and understanding of what it takes to implement long-term sustainability for organizations. She served as the first woman president of Adath Israel Congregation (where she oversaw a capital campaign with a goal of $6 million), was chair of Jewish Vocational Service during the combination with Easterseals of Greater Cincinnati, and served as regional president of Jewish National Fund. Jan was instrumental in the formation of JCGC and has served on the board for 15 years. Over the past eight years she has served on the Create Your Jewish Legacy Committee on behalf of JCGC in addition to her roles as president of the organization and as a member of most committees. In addition to her many other community volunteer roles including as a member of the Federation board, in 2024 she will become president of the local chapter of American Jewish Committee and president of the Oberlin College Alumni Leadership Council.

Jan stated, “I started with Jewish Cemeteries from its planning stages. The creation of a community organization to own and manage our cemeteries was an amazing idea from a business and operations standpoint, which fit right in my business career focus. The planning goal was to do much good for the community by streamlining services. Who would think that Jewish Cemeteries could be the most respected Jewish cemetery agency in the country! To watch the Jewish Cemeteries grow, flourish, and expand its offerings has been so rewarding. Who wouldn’t want to support such a phenomenally successful organization?”