Kathleen Lempert

1. How did you get involved with Federation CJA, and why?

The start of my involvement with Federation CJA had everything to do with one Rabbi and a Jewish couple I met; he in Yeshiva and she studying for her P.H.D, when converting from Reformed Judaism to Orthodox. Their willingness to help, openness and commitment to and acceptance of me, a stranger, had a monumental impact. None of them realized that they were the first of several people in the community to whom I turned for help who finally did and they wanted nothing nor asked for anything in return. They felt there was a bigger purpose to what they were doing and in the end, they were right. I suddenly felt a need to help community the way community helped me and vowed pay it forward. My first involvement was the Grand Opening committee for Federation West Island in 2005/2006

2. What is your fondest memory to date of your time working with Federation CJA?

My fondest memories reside with Federation West Island. We were a small team, became family, had the same objective to build relationships within our community and most of all to Bring Community Together. We relied on, supported, cared for, mentored, trusted and were honest with each other.

3. Can you recall a particular moment or event that impacted you profoundly?

Watching Federation CJA West Island grow was tremendously profound and impactful. Our 1st annual Yom Haazmaut event drew 100 people, while the 2nd attracted 250 celebrants, and it kept growing. The event now attracts 1,500 people annually. It showed me that you can make a change in your community when you’re surrounded by the right people, with the same values.

4. What advice would you give to the young women following in your philanthropic footsteps?

You have the power to impact the community by which you are surrounded. No matter your skill, it can be useful philanthropically to help whatever causes are important to you. Don’t allow discomfort to be a decision maker! By this, I mean being uncomfortable public speaking, leading a committee, discomfort with being the centre of attention, uncomfortable asking for money, etc. In every step of my philanthropic career (not to mention my career) I have deliberated over these uncomfortable feelings and always chose to make myself uncomfortable. It was the best decision I made and gave me the greatest reward! Always stick to your values, remain humble and use every opportunity to impact people in a positive way.

5. What is your legacy?

I implicated myself and used my skills to help make a difference in my community.

Back to top