Bobbi & Don Bernstein
For our entire married life, which is now more than 45 years, Bobbi and I have considered ourselves “charitable.” We never ignored requests, gave excuses or looked the other way. Our first experience in fundraising occurred during the '67 Israel war and the emergency appeal. We were privileged to attend a fundraiser that featured Golda Meir. It made a lasting impression on us both.
As we became better able to do more financially, we stepped up on our own and did it. As our children became older, educated, and depended on us less, we increased our gifting some more. We established a family foundation, charitable remainder trust, and did estate planning geared more and more toward charity.
Along the way, we came to realize that our children's interests were different than ours, and we did not want to depend on them to support what was most dear to us personally. We established several specific endowments at the Foundation for the Charlotte Jewish Community, a supporting organization of Foundation For The Carolinas, to help sustain or support organizations for the long term. Some are being funded currently, and some will be funded through legacy giving. As our interests broaden, we will undoubtedly add additional endowments.
Our primary but not singular focus has been on Jewish organizations and Jewish institutions with the belief that Jews are the primary supporters of Jews, and Jewish support is vital to Jewish survival here and abroad. The Bernstein Leadership Group, established in 1997, is one of our proudest achievements as it has trained more than 200 young men and women, many of whom are now in leadership positions throughout the community.
Support of the arts has been our secondary focus, as we have great admiration for artistic talent. The arts help and enrich all walks of life and we know they can't survive without private support. Healthcare and education are also important, and we try to provide some support to a broad range of worthwhile organizations serving these needs.
Charitable giving has been an evolving process that we look back on with pride and pleasure. We like the idea of a continuing legacy of support long after we are gone, and knowing that we can make a difference now and in the future. We have always tried to provide a high standard through leadership and hope others will follow this most gratifying path.
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