Steve Forbes: Looking for the Next Group of Philanthropic Superheroes

Each year, Forbes magazine runs a special issue profiling men and women deemed "Heroes of Philanthropy." In the latest edition, 48 of the world's most generous were selected, four individuals representing 12 countries across the globe. Some were extremely wealthy; others had moderate incomes with a wealth of innovative ideas and resources. Despite a very challenging global economy, all have made it their business to make a difference in the lives of others.

This is the message that the leaders of the Federation Annual Campaign kick-off event, featuring the magazine's namesake and editor-in-chief, anticipate that Steve Forbes will deliver, with impact, to all who attend the Tuesday, Dec. 7 event at the Hilton Philadelphia City Line.

Ronald Perilstein, who, along with wife, Jayne, serve as one of the six sets of event co-chairs, has read the latest "Heroes" piece, and says he "was struck by the fact that many of those profiled have taken an individual passion and vision and risen to the challenge to make an enormous difference in the communities where they live and work." He adds that many of the projects and initiatives that these philanthropists have supported can be successfully implemented in "communities like ours."

Forbes initiated this special feature three years ago with the hope of "encouraging more giving, even in a down economy." Perilstein maintains that Forbes, who he describes as both a "successful businessperson and generous philanthropist," is uniquely qualified to posit and address "The Economy & Philanthropy — What Now?" "This theme will truly resonate with campaign volunteers and professionals who are aware of the impact of this challenging economy on families, children and older adults who are served by our partner agencies, thanks to Federation funding," predicts Perilstein.

Ronald Panitch, a former Federation campaign chair and a current co-chairperson of the Forbes event, along with his wife, Sue, is optimistic that Forbes' address will inspire the audience of Federation donors to "face head-on the challenges of maintaining and enhancing philanthropy so that our Jewish community's ever-increasing needs can be met and properly funded." Panitch views this community gathering as "an opportunity for individuals of diverse ages and giving levels to come together to gain strength from each other."

The evening offers several opportunities for donors to meet Steve Forbes and network with their peers. Forbes will converse with those attending the Leadership Gifts Dinner; open to those who make a minimum household gift of $10,000 to the Jewish Federation's annual campaign or who are members of Federation's Legacy Society — individuals who provide Federation and the Jewish community with strong financial resources through endowed giving and estate planning. He will also address members of Federation's Ben-Gurion Society, donors ages 25-45, who make a minimum gift of $1,000 to the annual campaign, during their dinner reception.

Immediately following the two dinner receptions, Forbes will deliver his keynote address during a lavish Major Gifts dessert reception. The reception, scheduled to begin promptly at 7:30 p.m., is open to donors who make a minimum household gift of $1,000 to Federation's Annual Campaign or Legacy Society members.

Leadership Gifts dinner guests will receive an autographed copy of Power, Ambition, Glory, the book Forbes co-authored with classics professor John Prevas. The 2009 New York Times bestseller draws parallels between the giants of the ancient world and contemporary business leaders.

Forbes event co-chairs Keith Joffe and his fiancée, Caroline Kallman, do double duty as Ben-Gurion Society (BGS) co-chairs. Joffe says that he has had the pleasure of hearing Forbes speak on the topic of philanthropy" during the 2008-2009 Philadelphia Speaker Series at the Kimmel Center. He assures those who are planning to attend the Forbes event that "they will not be disappointed."

Joffe terms the Society's decision to host their annual dinner reception during the Special Evening with Steve Forbes as "historic." The Society, which he describes as "a national organization of young philanthropists who are poised to step up and help shape their communities," is marking its 10th anniversary in Philadelphia this year and has grown to include more than 300 members. "We feel that combining our main event with the Federation campaign kick-off festivities is a wonderful way to celebrate our great milestones."

He invites those who are interested in learning more about BGS to call Sarah Bernstein at 215-832-0894, or e-mail: [email protected]

The Forbes event leadership team also includes co-chairs Sherrie Savett and Robert A. Rovner; Bethany and J. Brett Studner, and Phyllis and Darren Sudman.

Sponsors for this event include Blank Rome, LLP; El Al Israel Airlines; Sterling Trustees; Canada Dry Delaware Valley; and Helzberg Diamonds.

"Today, we are observing the holiday of Thanksgiving, a time to sit down with family and friends and celebrate the many freedoms and blessings we enjoy," says Federation President Leonard Barrack, who invites Federation donors "to celebrate the seventh night of Chanukah with their extended family — the hundreds of men and women expected to participate in the Dec. 7 Federation campaign kick-off event. Together, we will kindle the final candle in our tradition's Festival of Lights and fuel our continued commitment to illumine the lives of those who depend on the programs and initiatives made possible by Federation philanthropists."

For more information, call 215-832-0843 or e-mail: [email protected] Register online at:



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