I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba in a Jewish Family. My father and his five brothers grew up working class. They established SAAN stores/Gendis and were successful financially.
My life however, was complicated. I grew up as a survivor of violence, abuse and trauma. I experienced directly how money and power were used to keep me silent. I struggled with being wealthy and often hid my privilege. In 1988, my father died and I was surprised to come into an inheritance of eleven million dollars. I had often been told that I had spent so much money through my trust that nothing would be left. I had many questions and few answers on how to live with this abundance and privilege.
When I was 30, while attending college, I was assessed to have a learning disability, and came to understand the reasons for my difficulties in both primary and secondary-education. After college I worked and I often faced discrimination and lost jobs because of my learning disability. Social work was my calling and in 1996 I graduated with a second degree in social work.
In 1997 I founded ALDERCENTRE, a non–profit organization which provided employment services for youth and adults with learning disabilities. For 10 years I gave over half my income to support ALDER and other causes. I was proud to see that ALDER grew into a respected organization that was supported by government funding, creating an important place for a community whose voices were not being heard.
While I had given away half of my inheritance, I still felt a deep sense of emptiness. This woke me up. For the past six years I have worked with therapists and consultants who understand class privilege, supporting me to understand its intersections with trauma, oppression and mindfulness. My journey has been one of opening to a greater understanding and embodiment of giving and receiving that reflect my spiritual and political values. Part of my personal work continues to be to discern when giving comes from a place of internalized messages of trauma and a sense of not being enough. This continues to be a path and process in my life to which I am committed so that I live from a greater balance and harmony of healing myself and healing the world. Participating in co-creating justice and freedom for all beings is essential for me. Part of my work is to see that philanthropy is about interconnectedness and how I walk my life.
My deepest purpose now is to participate in stopping violence for women and girls and supporting LGBT youth at risk. My deepest personal purpose continues to be to connect and speak from my own voice. I support socially responsible investments completely and social justice philanthropy- which I am still learning. I have come to understand with deep awareness that I am not defined by my privilege while I am not released from my privilege. This moves me into a new way of being, of giving and receiving, and of living with response-ability.
| International | 40 to 59 Years Old | $10-$25M | at least 50% | Inheritance |
| Arts | Children/Youth | Education | LGBTQ | Social Justice | Fairness | Passion |