Ozzie, z"l, and Dorothy Goren – Intergenerational philanthropy in action, L’dor d’vor
Ozzie, z"l, and Dorothy Goren
In 2013, Dorothy Goren and her husband Ozzie, of blessed memory, decided to leave a lasting legacy for their children and grandchildren by creating Donors Advised Funds for each, to continue a multigenerational tradition of giving in their family. Below is the letter they wrote to their family.
Dear Children and Grandchildren,
Our parents came from Russia, Rumania, Lithuania and Poland in the early 1900s. They worked 18 hours a day to support our families. Even though they had little themselves, we watched them practice the Jewish tradition of tzedakah. They filled a blue tzedakah box with change (all they could afford), and gave directly to people and to charitable organizations. No one in need walked away from our homes hungry.
Our parents were great role models for us, finding joy in being charitable. During our lifetime we have been fortunate to be able to continue this tradition in many ways. Through our Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, we have been making donations to organizations and programs of our choice to benefit people and our local community, our nation, in Israel and throughout the world.
We have told you about our involvement in the Soviet Jewry movement in the 1970s, smuggling needed items into the Soviet Union for the ‘refuseniks.’ We had the absolute joy of greeting a planeload of Russian emigrants at 3:00 a.m. as they got off the plane in Israel, kissed the ground, and then turned and kissed and hugged us – total strangers – as if we were family. We worked to help Ethiopian Jews relocate to Israel. During the apartheid years we supported ‘secret’ efforts to bring black South Africans to Israel, where Israelis shared the lessons of community organizing in preparation for the freedom black South Africans finally achieved. While these efforts were dramatic, we are equally proud of our continuing financial and personal commitments to support the Jewish Federation, United Way, Jewish Home for the Aging, and Jewish Family Service.
It has always been our hope that our efforts to help others would encourage you to do the same. In this spirit, we have had you participate in our annual Christmas giveaway of complete turkey dinners to 100 families, through the Los Angeles Urban League, which we have done every year for the last 57 years.
We have always been pleased with the number of your bar and bat mitzvah gifts you donated to organizations such as the Irving Schneider Children’s Hospital in Israel and the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, among others. At Papa’s 90th birthday we were truly moved and impressed when a certificate was handed to Papa saying that you, our grandchildren, had made a $900 donation, $90 each, to the Head Start school program which we have supported for many years. It was the perfect gift as it recognized something that is so important to us.
As we ‘mature,’ it has become increasingly important for us to make a lasting gift to the Jewish community we have worked so long to support. We wanted to do something ‘big.’ In thinking about what to do, we realized that the major reason this was important to us was our desire to serve as philanthropic role models for all of you. How could we, in a concrete way, take the example you set by giving to our Head Start program and encourage and support your philanthropy into the future beyond our lives and into the lives of your children?
Your 90th birthday gift to Papa has convinced us that we could do nothing ‘bigger’ to insure continued giving than to establish separate, charitable donor advised funds for each of you, so that you can make donations of your own choice in perpetuation of tzedakah and tikkun olam. These individual charitable funds will be funded by a set amount each year from our larger family foundation and will have the ability to grow independently through additional donations of your own.
The art of giving is one of the great Jewish traditions and we hope that what we are doing will help immortalize that tradition through you, from generation to generation, l’dor v’dor. Giving to those not as fortunate as ourselves not only makes them smile, but makes you smile and feel good as you continue in our family’s multigenerational tradition of charitable giving.
We love you all,
Nana and Papa