Opening Bell For UJA-Fed. Campaign


The Wall Street community “may be a punching bag for the media at times,” noted Robert Kapito, the president of BlackRock and chair of the annual UJA-Federation of New York Wall Street Dinner, held here Monday evening. But that community is a leader in philanthropy, he asserted, noting that this year’s event, the granddaddy of UJA-Federation fundraisers, was the largest ever, with more than 1,700 attendees, and raising more than $26 million for the 2014 annual campaign.

John Ruskay, CEO and executive vice president of UJA-Federation, expressed gratitude that leaders of the Wall Street community recognize their responsibility to reach out and help support those in New York who go hungry.

Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein and David Wassong of Soros Fund Management were honored at the event.

Coming on the heels of the record-breaking campaign kickoff event in late October, said to have raised $46 million, the federation is off to an impressive start in its yearly quest to address the economic, educational and community needs of 4.5 million people in New York, Israel and around the world.

Alisa Doctoroff, president of UJA-Federation, told the Wall Street gathering that she was “proud to be a part of a community of tremendous generosity.” (She and her husband, Dan, CEO and president of Bloomberg L.P., recently announced The Doctoroff Family Legacy Challenge Fund, which will contribute up to $500,000 to the annual campaign “to inspire people to leave a legacy now.”)

Linda Mirels, chair of the UJA-Federation board, attributed the success to date to “unmatched acts of charitable kindness.”

It is such acts of kindness that embody the tradition of tzedakah and fuel the world’s largest local charity. And therein is a lesson for all of us, whether we enjoy great wealth or not. We are all responsible for our community, our people, and each other.