As a camper at Camp Saskatchewan, Eric L. Settle negotiated later curfews for his bunkmates.
“I always wanted to be a lawyer,” he said with a laugh.
The senior counsel at AmeriHealth Caritas has had a diverse career, from serving as a financial adviser to working as a lobbyist for autism.
But Settle, of Bryn Mawr, said his favorite roles are the board positions he’s had in local nonprofits and Jewish organizations.
Settle sits on the Endowment Corporation Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, where he and his wife, Robin, focus on planned giving and the related Tikkun Olam Society, which recognizes donors who incorporate gifts to the Jewish Federation into their estate planning.
“Especially for donors of more modest means, planned giving is a way for people to participate when they’re concerned about their own resources,” Settle explained, adding, “it allows people to feel comfortable in the present and still feel good about helping for the future.”
The value of tzedakah has grown with Settle since his young adulthood, when a stint as an alumni trustee for alma mater Colgate University taught him the importance of giving back.
“At the age of 22, I was in a room full of CEOs and other significant community leaders” deciding how to make Colgate a better institution, he said.
“Having had that experience at a young age certainly turned me on to philanthropy,” he noted. “I felt that desire to give back to the community.”
Jewish life provides him an opportunity to do so, he said.
“Synagogues are important places, not only for members, but also as community centers, helping the community at large.”
A member of Main Line Reform Temple, Settle served as president of the synagogue from 2014 to 2016. During his presidency, he spearheaded the effort to create a permanent endowment for the shul, raising more than $1.5 million.
An interest in health care contributes to Settle’s role as director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Early Head Start program, which offers low-income parents resources for enriching their young children’s development.
Before the position at CHOP, Settle worked as deputy general counsel to then-Gov. Tom Ridge and tackled issues with government-sponsored health care.
“I was involved with putting together HealthChoices, the Medicaid managed care program,” he said.
On his future in philanthropy, Settle is “not quite sure what I’m going to do next.”
“I’m back to practicing law in health care, returning to my roots,” he said. “So, professionally, I’m excited to be back in health care, but personally, I’m looking for the next opportunity to make a difference.”
Regardless, he is looking forward to embracing Jewish life.
“I’m trying to fit it all into the pie chart of life,” he said, noting, “but the things I’ve been able to do to help people is what’s most meaningful to me.”
This article is part of an occasional series of profiles of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia supporters.