Jonathan Kopman & Merick Gollan

As marathon runners, we understand the gradual pace at which you build endurance in order to reach the finish line. Our approach to philanthropy is not too different: we start at a slower and steady pace and, in time, the momentum will build and strengthen.

We have been so fortunate to live in a wonderful, vibrant Jewish community in Toronto and we do not take it for granted. We are lucky to be in a position to help those less advantaged and we want to ensure our two daughters, Macy and Addison, recognize their responsibility to do the same. Having a fund set up with the Jewish Foundation is our way of guiding our daughters and giving them a means through which they will be able to continue the important act of tzedakah.

Merick grew up in Hamilton in a small but extremely tight-knit community. Everyone knew everyone, and across generations. This communal intimacy, though not replicable in a big city, is still palpable. We see how Jewish neighbourhoods have shifted or grown but that is because there is a comfort that comes from living among other Jewish families. That said, we are not isolated from the rest of the city and we have made a point to be involved with grassroots activities that give us first-hand experiences with other demographics and communities.

During the Christmas holiday season, our entire family takes part in an annual tradition of forgoing Chanukah gifts and, instead, we buy and distribute necessity items, like winter gear, for less privileged families. It is so important for our children to recognize how blessed they are and to see that by giving they get so much in return.

We also impress upon our daughters that giving does not carry a single definition: one way to give is with financial support and the other is through volunteerism.

Jonathan, who was born and raised in Toronto, has been a volunteer and board member with Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) for nearly two decades. He was drawn to the agency because of its local impact and the ability to see the results of his involvement. His volunteerism extends to other causes as well.

Our fund will make legacy giving possible once we are gone but, more importantly, it has set up a wonderful vehicle through which our daughters will be able to uphold the act of giving and hopefully extend it to their children one day.