In 1944, Jay and Rose Phillips created a philanthropic foundation so that their longstanding practice of giving back to the community could continue far into the future.
As children of Russian Jewish immigrants, Jay and Rose Phillips both grew up in hard working families that placed great importance on the Jewish values of charity, loving-kindness and social justice. Even as an eight-year-old newsboy working to help support his family, Jay left a portion of his earnings at the local bakery for the hungry.
Jay extended this generosity throughout his lifetime—his was one of the first companies to incorporate profit sharing practices, giving employees a portion of his company’s returns. Together with Rose, Jay worked tirelessly to continue to share the couple’s resources, building a stronger community for all Minnesotans.
From the beginning, The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation focused on areas where Jay saw the greatest need: efforts to combat discrimination and honor diversity, self-sufficiency, health, education and programs for people with disabilities. In 1987, the National Society of Fundraising Executives named Jay the National Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year. In accepting the award, Jay spoke prophetically of the responsibility of foundations to address unmet human and social needs during times of severe economic hardship and financial distress.
Reflecting Jay and Rose’s commitment to give back to the community—or as they always put it, to “share” with the community—the Foundation has grown in size and scope and now funds more than 325 organizations each year.
Jay passed away in 1992, and Rose followed in 2002 at the age of 103. They are greatly missed by their family and many friends who remember the couple’s gracious, modest generosity and devotion to the community. We are grateful for their commitment and vision, which are as important today as they were 65 years ago when The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation started its work.
In 2010, the foundation restructured and entered a new chapter of its history. To better serve the three branches of the family now living in Minnesota, Colorado, and California, The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation split into three separate and distinct foundations. The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota continues to provide funding to a variety of Minnesota programs, services, and institutions that help people in poverty attain economic stability.