When asked if there is a specific event or memory that we can call the defining moment responsible for our philanthropy the answer was, “Not really. Rather we think of it more as a way of life. It is simply what one does, naturally.”
Larry was born in Montreal into a home were Judaism figured prominently. His mother was from Saint John, New Brunswick, and his father from Fort William, now Thunder Bay. Larry’s father was a fundraiser for the Jewish National Fund, Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, Bar I’lan University, and several others. Both of Larry’s parents were wonderful role models. Larry relocated to Toronto following graduate school at McMaster. He founded and fostered a communications agency, selling it after a successful run of 25 years.
Maureen was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. Maureen’s father, a decorated soldier in WWII, was killed in action just after she was born. She came to Canada, with her first job as an occupational therapist at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital, before extending her career in Toronto. Although not raised in a Jewish home, she has fond memories of her mother volunteering with Jewish children orphaned after the Holocaust or abandoned at the Montefiore Home in Sydney.
Now, we are at a stage of life where we have more than we need. Our family, including our two children, Adam and Samantha, have been fortunate to live a comfortable life. But we do not rest on our laurels. We are obliged to contribute, and we choose to help in a very specific way.
We are very interested in the cultural activities of our community. We have always supported Jewish causes like UJA, Israel Centre for Guide Dogs, JNF, as well as our synagogue, and continue to volunteer for numerous community organizations. Included on that list are non-Jewish causes. After all, we are part of a greater community. The motivation to do all this comes from the idea that you are not measured in life by what you own; you are measured by what you give.
The example was set for us by our parents and now we are doing the same for our children. We want them to always consider that they are part of a community. There are many who are less fortunate and may not have the wherewithal to survive, so our legacy gift with the Jewish Foundation ensures that the support systems exist. The Jewish community is fragile; we must do all we can to protect it.