Wendy Spatzner

Women's Philanthropy Campaign Chair, 2013-2014

After years of being active on various school, hospital, and a not-for-profit boards,, and organizations, and having chaired fundraising events, I was invited to be part of the Women’s Philanthropy campaign team.

Not having been involved in the organized Jewish community in my youth, my interest was piqued. It was eye opening to see the scope and impact that federation has on the lives of so many.

My fondest memory of my experience at Women’s Philanthropy was the support I felt as Campaign Chair. People were so welcoming, and encouraging, validating my work as a fundraiser for the community. I felt so honoured to hold this position. On our chairman’s mission that year, encountering a family from the Jewish community of Madrid gave me insight into the importance of the ties that bind, and of how grateful I am to be a part of such a vibrant community.

One of the many impactful moments occurred while serving dinner at Le Café, Federation CJA’s dignified soup kitchen, where a client seemed to know me from childhood. Perhaps we had lived in the same neighbourhood, or gone to the same school. We had been on a parallel path but somewhere our lives had diverged. It reminded me that there is a fine line between giving help and getting help.

I would posit that there is not just one type of Federation woman. We come from varied backgrounds and life experiences. We each have our own strengths. There is a place for each of us at the Women’s Philanthropy table. Whether you come to the table with skills or learn them on the job, it is an invaluable experience that will serve you well throughout life. It is also about the incredible people you meet along the way; those who mentor you, befriend you, and enrich your life.

I hope to have transmitted to those around me the power and inspiration of our community; the value of philanthropy-of giving back; the value of helping those less fortunate; and the satisfaction of doing meaningful, good work.

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