During a night that focused on why people give to community, the spirit of generosity spread throughout UJA-Federation of New York’s Wall Street Dinner. The Wall Street community raised more than $26 million dollars with a turnout of 1,700 guests at the Hilton New York on December 8th.
The event honored Jacques E. Brand, CEO of North America at Deutsche Bank, and Brett H. Barth, co-founder and managing partner of BBR Partners, LLC.
“We are brought together by a common bond: we support UJA-Federation and feel a deep responsibility to give back in a meaningful way,” said Robert S. Kapito, president of BlackRock and chair of UJA-Federation’s Wall Street & Financial Services Division.
This sense of responsibility and giving back was articulated, in a video, by several of the prominent financial leaders who sat on the dais representing the leadership of the Wall Street community.
“By being here, by giving as generously as you do, Wall Street is setting the philanthropic standard for the entire New York community,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York. “And when you support UJA-Federation, you do something uniquely powerful – you support an organization that acts as a safety net” for people both in times of crisis and every day.
That safety net is created by more than dollars, noted Daniel S. Och, CEO of Ziff Capital Management Group, LCC and senior chair of UJA-Federation’s Investment Management division.
“It’s not just about your financial contribution and not just your time, but also your heart,” he said. “When people are down and out, it’s also knowing someone cares about them and lends a hand.”
This was the fourth consecutive year that Jane and Dan Och have established a challenge match that drew a new constituency of donors to UJA-Federation, as well as galvanizing long-time supporters who increased their gifts to meet the match.
Jacques E. Brand, recipient of the Gustave L. Levy Award presented by Morris W. Offit, knew first-hand what it means to have people extend compassionate concern when life’s challenges arise.
He told the journey of his life, including being raised by parents who were Holocaust survivors, losing his mother to cancer when he was 3 years old, and immigrating to New York City from Belgium at age 6 with his father. Brand spoke movingly of how his Wall Street colleagues helped him when he had just started working at Lehman Brothers as a 24-year-old and his father, diagnosed with leukemia, had no health insurance.
“I am very conscious that I would not be here if it weren’t for all the wonderful people and organizations that cared enough to help me along the way,” Brand said.
“The truth is none one of us can conquer life’s obstacles alone. That is why UJA-Federation is so important. When life throws a curve ball, people need help. UJA-Federation is there. UJA-Federation’s network of agencies provides a safety net and a springboard for millions of people both here and around the world.”
Tribute to Alan C. “Ace” Greenberg
Legendary financial leader Alan C. “Ace” Greenberg, who died several months ago, exemplified caring for others, said John A. Paulson, a member of Wall Street & Financial Services Division’s executive leadership.
“Ace also loved meeting and encouraging young talent,” Paulson added, noting how fitting it is that the Wall Street Young Leadership Award is named in Ace’s memory.
Greenberg’s wife Kathy and their family attended the event and saw Brett H. Barth receive the inaugural Alan C. Greenberg Young Leadership Award that was presented by Evan M. Roth, Barth’s friend and business partner.
“I respect the enormous legacy that Ace left, and the example he has shown to future generations on Wall Street,” Barth said. “I am deeply honored to receive this award.”
Barth acknowledged the importance of family, Judaism and philanthropy in his life and told the crowd that UJA-Federation is a cause he and his wife Natalie are actively and profoundly committed to. “And this is a cause we have instilled in our sons,” he said, adding that they include their sons in mitzvah projects at UJA-Federation beneficiary agencies, like joining a Hanukkah party for children at the Educational Alliance and serving meals to the elderly at the United Jewish Council of the Lower East Side.
A Mission Greater Than Myself
The importance of service to the community also arose during a wide-ranging conversation between General David Petraeus and Marc Lipschultz, co-chair of UJA-Federation’s Private Equity Division.
In a discussion that probed tensions in the Middle East, ISIS, and the relationship between the United States and Israel, General Petraeus shared why he served for more than 37 years in the United States army.
“I stayed because of a sense of serving a mission greater than myself and the privilege of doing so with others,” he said.
General Petraeus thanked the Wall Street community for being so supportive of United States service men and women and noted that he was proud to be at a dinner for UJA-Federation, which “does an extraordinary amount for people who are less fortunate and in need.”