Giving my Heart to Women’s Philanthropy

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To me, the last of anything has always meant turning the page to something new. So ending my role as chair of Women’s Philanthropy is not really an end. My Federation journey and our community needs will remain as relevant a passion tomorrow as they are today.

Even if I don’t always agree 100% on every issue or need tackled by our Federation and its agencies, I always come back to one moment that defines my commitment and passion to this organization. When I was in Romania in 1977, I met a woman who was eating lunch next to me in a kitchen funded by our international partner, Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in Bucharest. She did not speak English. So she started drawing on her empty paper plate. She used stick people just like me. There was a little girl a fire over her head and a sun on the top right. On the bottom right she drew one of those smiley faces. She had been a child of the Shoah who survived to live another day and she was grateful beyond measure. I drew back a little girl with a heart in her hands trying to give it back to her. We smiled and laughed and who knows what she really thought. I know what I thought and it is with me today: From my position of privilege I can reach inside myself and share what’s in my heart and in my pocketbook.

This may be my final Campaign as chair, but it will never be my final campaign. I will always grab a cup of coffee or pick up the phone so that the foundation of our people is one of dignity and opportunity. I have even made sure that long after I am gone, my gift and that of my husband will continue on for generations to come. My stick figure drawing hasn’t changed, just my expectation that I can and should do more.

These past few years have afforded me the chance to meet so many of you. I owe you all a debt of gratitude. You have made this a memorable, fun and enlightening experience. I am especially indebted to our current and emerging leadership and our past chairs for making every meeting and event meaningful. Together you have changed the trajectory of our vision and brought your friends along with you. Thank you for your patience and willingness to give of yourself so effectively. We are Stronger Together is an understatement.

Right after Campaign, I will pass the baton to a most capable visionary, Jennifer Korach. She will use her talents to create the next phase. I look forward to cheering for her and our leadership team from the sidelines. She will have the greatest weapon in her arsenal that the Federation can give, Lisa Hacker. We are most fortunate to have such an impactful professional. Between Lisa and her assistant Joyce Lisiewski, you will never be lost and more importantly, I hope you enjoy working and learning from them as much as I have. They make an Olympic team.

So join me for the last few months of Campaign. I am counting on you to help me go out with a flourish of new highs for Women’s Philanthropy and our community. The stick person in my drawing gives its heart to you this time.  What will you do with it?

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