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Where’s the South Asian Aspen Retreat on Philanthropy?

August 25, 2009

I meant to write about this a week ago. At that point I had worked myself up into a mild rage. It has since simmered to a low-level irritation. But, I do think the following story about Jewish philanthropy is “up in arms” worthy when compared to our South Asian community. We need to ask ourselves why we’re not gathering in cities across American to encourage, discuss, inspire, effectuate, etc. . . . philanthropy.

A few weeks ago, Aspen, Colorado was host to the 14th annual United Jewish Communities (UJC)/The Jewish Federations of North America Jewish Leadership Forum (JLF).  It sounds like a wonderful event and a model we can aspire to.

The retreat brought together 100 young leaders with both the capacity and the passion for Jewish philanthropy to discuss ways to bring their giving to the next level. Speakers gave participants ideas about how to approach philanthropy in different ways. Adam Bronfman, managing director of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, discussed philanthropic responsibility and how his passion influences the way he runs the foundation. Peter Lowy, managing director of The Westfield Group, described his philanthropic style as being transparent and goal-oriented and noted that when he commits his dollars to philanthropy, he commits his time as well.

Additionally, Newark’s Mayor Cory Booker attended and urged participants to use their financial and leadership abilities to address injustices in their own communities and in the world.

Where is the South Asian Aspen, Colorado Retreat on philanthropy? How long will we wait before we acknowledge and make manifest the potential of South Asian giving?

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