A few years ago, along with my husband Jeff, I had the privilege of attending a leadership training program called "Flight" through the Max M. Fisher Foundation. We were invited to participate along with a few other young Jewish couples from across North America. Together, we were seeking ways to hone our leadership skills, revisit our giving habits and think about our philanthropic lives.
My Fisher Flight experience was incredibly motivating, and as a result I made a conscious decision to lead an "intentional life".
I have been involved as a volunteer with various charities over the years, and have always recognized the responsibility to do and to give to the best of my ability. When I was asked to chair Women's Philanthropy at UJA, in addition to being so honoured, I felt an even greater sense of the importance of taking on a leadership role.
A woman's individual gift is unique and separate from her husband's or partner's. In a traditional family structure, the man's gift is typically canvassed outside of the home. Conversely, the woman's gift is more often discussed in the home and often involves the whole family, which adds a whole new dimension to the act of giving. In addition to the obvious opportunity to help our community, I took on the position as Women's Philanthropy Chair, so that my children, Rachel, Lilah and Ben will see me take a leadership role and try to evoke change, to enhance the giving experience. By giving, I mean monetarily but also programmatically and socially. I wish to see and develop innovative programs that bring more women into the fold, so that they can feel part of this community and that together, we can impact the lives of others in a positive and meaningful way. I want to see more mentorship programs that can guide young women with great leadership potential, but also to bring in more seasoned women who do not recognize the potential within them and the impact that they have on others.
Endowing my gift is a starting point. It is a way to set an example for others but it is also extremely personal. It gives me great satisfaction to know that my contributions will continue long after I am gone and that the community work to which I am committed will be funded on an ongoing basis through this endowment. I hope that what we accomplish in Woman's Philanthropy this coming year, will, like my endowment gift, carry on indefinitely.