Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Making a Difference 2018

After a brief hiatus, I am easing my way back with this speech from the 22nd Russ Berrie Making A Difference Awards. 


Every day, in every facet of our lives, opportunities to lead call out to us. At work and at home, in our local communities and in the global village, the chance to make a difference beckons to us.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Asia, Israel and the Jewish World

As Co-Chair of The Jewish Funders Network, I have the pleasure of being part of a philanthropic circle of peers who practice the art of giving. Generosity is our calling card and our reward is meeting inspiring people on this lifelong learning journey.

back – l-r, Debbie Dadon, Simone Szalmuk-Singer, Tracie Olcha, Belinda Bardas
front – Sam Lipski, Angelica Berrie, Solina Chau (Executive Director,
Li Ka Shing Foundation), Andres Spokoiny

The Jewish Funders Network Asia conference in Hongkong, organized by the Australian Jewish Funders and the Pratt Foundation, focused on “Asia, 
Israel and the Jewish World.”

Asian philanthropy has a long history in Hongkong and two of its most prominent Foundations were our guest speakers - Ronnie Chan of the Morningside Foundation and Solina Chau, Director of the Li Ka Shing Foundation


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Living Mindfully in the Digital Age

In a digital world, we suffer from a wealth of information and a poverty of attention. Distracted by the constant feed of brain stimuli, we forget what it means to inhabit our lives. We look without seeing as we multitask through the day, depriving ourselves of the gift of being present.


Listening to Jon Kabat-Zinn, Daniel Goldman, Richard Davison and Sharon Salzberg, thought leaders in the field of mindfulness, I shut down my phone to shut off the world and listen deeply to wisdom shared by Arianna Huffington, Jewel and others at Wisdom 2.0's Mindfulness in America Summit.

Be Here Now is my favorite mantra yet it it the lesson I am prone to forgetting. Even harder to master is the Buddhist core of compassion practice, to begin by being compassionate with myself. We are here also to care for our selves.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

How Women Lead in Philanthropy

“We are all more capable than we could ever imagine or admit to. We need to make sure that we are using that power now, and not waiting for a different time or when we’re more ready. We’re ready now. We need to do.” ~ Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg

When my husband, Russ Berrie, died in 2002 my philanthropic journey took a lonely turn. The gift of that harrowing loss was life-saving as it gave me the opportunity to embark on a lifelong learning journey that I could never have imagined.

Finding my voice as a woman in philanthropy, discovering other women who shared the wisdom of experience with me, learning by doing how philanthropy expresses who you are in how you give, taught me leadership lessons that no philanthropy guru could ever impart.
Rebecca Gratz painted by Thomas Sully, 1831

The landscape in relation to women and philanthropy is shifting. While women today own one-third of America's private businesses and control more than 51% of the wealth in the United States, the perception exists that "women don’t give big donations" and "women have to ask their husbands before they can give money."

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fourth of July

Langston Hughes' poem stirs memories of the American Dream - what America used to be, a country of immigrants who made it the great nation it is today.

O, let America be America again
The land that never has been
— The land that never has been
yet— And yet must be—the land
where every man is free.
The land that's mine—the poor
man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME—
Who made America, Whose
sweat and blood, whose faith
and pain, Whose hand at the
foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty
dream again. 


*NPRLin-Manuel Miranda has released an incredibly striking and stylized music video — really more of an impressionistic mini-film — for the song "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)" featuring K'NAAN, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC and Residente.