For David Gold, philanthropy is his No. 1 priority.
As such, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia ranks high on his list.
Gold has been involved with Jewish Federations for decades, starting in Buffalo, N.Y., in the mid-’80s.
He first got involved in the small-yet-vital Jewish community there when a friend asked him to help out at a Super Sunday fundraising event.
“We used to actually hand-tabulate the Super Sunday chart — this was way before automation was used widely,” said Gold, who is a CPA and partner at Pellini Gold Cordes LLC in West Chester.
When he moved to Chester County in 1990, he got involved in the local Chester County arm of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
“I got involved in [Jewish] Federation in Buffalo, but what really got me more involved here was on the Ben Gurion mission to Argentina,” he said of a trip he took in the ’90s. “The Argentine economy had just fallen off the face of the Earth, so we visited the Jewish community in Buenos Aires and, of course, they were having severe issues. That’s when I really, really got involved because we got to see what the [Jewish] Federation was doing overseas, and it really hit home.”
Gold is now a part of the Jewish Federation Legacy Society, which honors those who have made planned or endowed gifts of $100,000 or more. He is part of the Jaffa Gate level, which is for gifts between $250,000 and $499,999.
He also will participate in this year’s Super Sunday event on Feb. 12 at the JRA warehouse, “even though it’s the heat of tax season,” he laughed.
For the past couple years, he’s been training callers for the fundraising event.
Gold is involved with several Jewish Federation-related organizations: He is on the Partnership2Gether (P2G) Philadelphia-Netivot-Sedot Negev committee, a partnership with sister cities in Israel; chair of the Kehillah of Chester County; on the Jewish Federation Board of Trustees; co-chair of the LGBT affinity group; on the board of the Foundation for Jewish Day Schools; as well as other committees.
Gold has been able to share a lot of his involvement with his partner, James Yiaski.
“We’re an interfaith family, so I spend a lot more time on committee events, but Jim always comes to the Main Event and other fundraising functions,” he said.
They both went on the JFNA LGBT Israel mission last June, which was a “nationwide mission of LGBT people from the U.S., and the goal was to see how Israel is dealing with inclusion, not only in the LGBT community but in the non-Orthodox community.”
Gold said it was incredible to share that with Yiaski.
“In the past he’s only seen pictures of Israel, so he actually got to see my homeland,” Gold said. They visited the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Gold’s cousins in Israel.
“That made the trip even more worthwhile,” he added.
“I’ve been on several missions and every mission has been unique,” he continued. “I’ve had incredible experiences either in Israel or Argentina, and even when we went to visit Harrisburg for the day to talk to our state senators. It’s all-encompassing.”
For Gold, the desire to give back to his community comes from his family heritage.
“My parents were Holocaust survivors. My two brothers and I are second-generation. [My parents] came to the U.S. with literally nothing and built a life, put three kids through school and always had tzedakah on their priority list,” he said.
“So for me, giving back to the community [means] funding Holocaust survivors who can’t afford food, the Mitzvah Food Pantry, the Russian immigrants — it’s also very, very important that our [Jewish] Federation dollars go to fund programs overseas in Israel, in the Ukraine, South America.”
And as he’s gotten older, estate planning has become a priority.
“Making an endowment to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia was top of the list because of my history, my family history in particular, but we’ve also been fortunate enough to see where our [Jewish] Federation dollars go to in Israel and locally,” said Gold, who belongs to Kesher Israel Congregation in West Chester. “It’s a very, very important responsibility.
“We would like to see our funds go to organizations that are going to do good in the Jewish community locally and overseas.”
Gold noted that if the Jewish community does not support itself, no one else will.
“Because of our parents’ history surviving the Holocaust and coming here with nothing and raising three kids, that just makes philanthropy that much more important,” he said.
This article is part of an occasional series of profiles of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia supporters.
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