And they have taken action through a gift in a will, trust or other estate plans to support and sustain ADL for generations to come. Meet some of these extraordinary champions of the fight against hate.
Meet Ruth Z”L and George Z”L M.
Making the World Safer:
“We are committed to doing whatever we can to make the world a safer place for our children, grandchildren and communities,” said George and Ruth.
To show their dedication to the ADL’s mission of fighting antisemitism and hate, they chose to name ADL as a beneficiary in their estate plans.
“Most of us tend to think in terms of ‘the here and now,’ but creating a legacy gift is an opportunity to perpetuate your values and beliefs for generations to come,” said George. “Our bequest will help ensure that the vital work of ADL will continue well into the future.”
Sadly, Ruth passed away in December 2020. Her family has honored her memory and inspired others to support ADL by creating the Ruth Moss Legacy Challenge.
Meet Cheri R.
A Gift for Bringing People Together – and a Gift for the Future:
“We all want to make sure we have enough money through our lives, and of course take care of our families. But there will be some left over. I have some organizations that are near and dear to my heart, including ADL, and I want it to go to them.”
Cheri R. was introduced personally to ADL when Scott Levin, Mountain States Regional Director, and three other ADL representatives served on a task force she co-chaired for Colorado Ballet, Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project. With a gift for bringing people and communities together, Cheri – partnering with Scott and his colleagues – convinced 100 community groups to partner with the Project. At the same time, Cheri was directing after-school performing arts programs at a school that was part of ADL’s No Place for Hate program and was impressed by the partnership between ADL, the school, and the children. Scott quickly realized that Cheri would be an enormous asset to their work in the region and Cheri was invited to join the Mountain States Regional Board.
After a successful career in the reinsurance industry, Cheri has immersed herself in the arts and philanthropy. She currently serves as the President of Evergreen Music Festival, Music Director of Congregation Beth Evergreen, and Colorado Ballet board member. In her role as regional board member at ADL, she has been responsible for creating joyous artistic and musical events in support of its work, bringing ADL supporters and the broader community together to stand unified against anti-Semitism and hate. Her experience in running a music festival has certainly come in handy in her work with ADL.
“I learned about the ADL Legacy Challenge, and was excited to know that my future gift can generate an immediate gift for the region,” Cheri shares.
In addition to all Cheri has done for ADL in bringing the community together, she has included ADL in her estate plans. Cheri shares, “We all want to make sure we have enough money through our lives, and of course take care of our families. But there will be some left over. I have some organizations that are near and dear to my heart, including ADL, and I want it to go to them.”
As Cheri states, “I learned about the ADL Legacy Challenge, and was excited to know that my future gift can generate an immediate gift for the region today. I had already put ADL in my plans but learning about the Challenge inspired me to share the details with them. And I was particularly happy that the matching gift funds were going to be directed to the local regions. I encourage all of my fellow ADL supporters to consider including ADL in their estate plans. And if you have already, let them know!”
“I encourage all of my fellow ADL supporters to consider including ADL in their estate plans. And if you have already, let them know!”
Meet Kenneth J
A Legacy of Leadership:
“ADL’s work gave people a strong sense that ADL was one of the most important organizations in the country.”
As a fixture on the ADL landscape, Kenneth J. is a unique legacy by his own right. For nearly half a century, Ken has used his powerful voice on behalf of ADL. In conversations with donors, in articles and letters to the editor, in hundreds of speeches and presentations, and in testimony at congressional hearings, he has explained, amplified, and added nuance to ADL’s message.
And now Ken is creating another lasting legacy — a gift to ADL in his will.
Ken says he owes his long career here to “serendipity.” When he got his first job at ADL, in the research department, he was working toward his PhD in history and had no intention of staying. “Forty-eight years later, I’m still here — I never got my PhD.” Over the years, Ken has served in many capacities: Director of Middle East Affairs, Director of International Affairs, and now Deputy National Director. On an interim basis at different times, he oversaw the Civil Rights, Marketing and Communications, and Education Divisions. He also supervised ADL’s polling of American attitudes toward the Jewish people in America. “We made a major contribution toward an understanding of anti-Semitism and how much improvement there was over the years. That work, our programs, and our efforts on behalf of other communities, gave people a strong sense that ADL was one of the most important organizations in this country.”
Some have referred to Ken as ADL’s “one-man think tank.”
Asked for his thoughts about the resurgence of anti-Semitism in America and around the world today, Ken shares: “We’ve made huge progress, but if you understand the nature of anti-Semitism, you won’t be complacent.” Today, the unleashing of hate speech has resulted in a new anti-Semitism coming from both the right and the left, where it is couched in criticism of Israel. “Even while we warned about the potential, we hoped that it would never come back in full force. That just means the work of ADL is more important than ever.”
Despite the current resurgence of anti-Semitism, Ken remains an optimist. “I believe in America and the Jewish role in this country, but part of being an optimist is believing in our ability to have an impact on what happens. At ADL, our approach is to avoid partisanship, find allies, and stand on principle.”
Today, Ken continues to work on behalf of ADL in many contexts. He plans to pursue the work he loves for as long as he can, but when asked to consider his legacy, he says, “I think I had a real voice. When I wrote and spoke, I was articulating the principles and values that made ADL an important organization.” And his legacy will continue into the future: He has included ADL in his estate plans through a bequest in his will. “I am doing it both as appreciation for the wonderful career I’ve had at ADL, and because of the importance of ADL for the Jewish people and American society.”
Meet Robert W.
My Family’s Civil Rights Legacy:
“By leaving a bequest to the ADL Foundation, we have helped ensure the long-term viability of ADL.”
I grew up in an ADL household. My father, Charles Wittenstein, split his career as a civil rights lawyer and human relations expert between the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee. He served as southern civil rights director and southern counsel for ADL in Atlanta from 1973 until he retired in 1994.
Back in those days, this was dangerous work. White supremacists like J.B. Stoner targeted ADL professionals; bomb threats and death threats were a part of the job. Some time in the 1960s, I recall that on one of my father’s trips to Birmingham, Alabama, his briefcase was stolen from his hotel room. When he approached the front desk about the theft, the clerk assured him that if he went out to dinner, it was sure to turn up again. It was returned after its contents had been rearranged, presumably after they were photocopied by Bull Connor’s police department.
My father graduated from Columbia Law School, and I recall my mother once telling me that “your father chose to do good rather than doing well.” In my father’s office, he had a poster-sized piece of art with Deuteronomy 16:20, “Justice, Justice Shall Thou Pursue.” Today, it hangs in my office.
I joined the Atlanta Regional Board of the ADL in the early 1990s. Almost 30 years later, it remains a lifelong commitment. I’ve spent the past four years as co-chair of the Atlanta Regional Board Civil Rights Committee. We have fought dozens of battles with the Civil Rights Committee to advocate for social change. We have opposed punitive measures against immigrants and the LGBT community, we have successfully advocated for Hate Crimes legislation — which after a years-long effort was signed into law on June 26, 2020, by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp — and we have worked to counter antisemitism on college campuses and in the white supremacist movement in the deep south.
One of my proudest accomplishments is the establishment of the Charles F. Wittenstein Summer Associate Research Program. This program is funded by my brother and his wife, David and Lee Wittenstein, my sister and her husband, Ruth and Gary Musicante, and me and my wife, Susan. This program, which began in 2003, provides law firm summer associates in some of Atlanta’s largest and most prestigious law firms with the opportunity to delve deeply into critical civil rights legal issues while furthering the mission of the ADL.
This past year, my wife and I have made the commitment to participate in the ADL Legacy Challenge campaign. We have modified our will to leave a small but meaningful bequest to the ADL Foundation. By doing so, we have not only helped ensure the long-term viability of ADL but also provided valuable funds this year to the Atlanta ADL office as part of the matching gift program. Won’t you join us in this invaluable legacy to ADL?
Meet Stacy R.
A Personal Mission to Fight Hate:
“To me, most of the world’s problems are caused by hate. ADL is the premier organization fighting against hate and having a real impact.”
For Stacy R., it’s all about making a difference. “I don’t want to feel like I just take up space on the planet. I hope that in some way my being here contributes to making the world a better place,” she said. “That’s why I have included ADL in my estate plan.”
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Stacy wasn’t particularly involved in Jewish life. However, in her early 20s, she decided to go on a trip to Israel. “I wasn’t looking at it as a religious awakening,” she said. “I was just going to see another country.”
“When I arrived in Jerusalem on the eve of Shabbat, got off the bus and walked to the Wall, I burst into tears! It was a total shock to me! That’s when I began to deeply connect with my Jewish heritage.”
A few days later, on top of Masada, she was approached about making a gift to the organization, with which she traveled. “At that moment, I thought, I’ll give you everything I own! I was so moved,” Stacy said. It was the beginning of her life as a philanthropist.
As a young professional living and working in Washington, she heard that a new U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was being built. “I volunteered immediately, and they put me in the Communications Department, because that was my background. Working to help create and open the museum was the most rewarding job I ever had, even though I didn’t get paid.”
A few years later, Stacy moved to South Florida. Missing her work with the museum, she began looking for other ways to get involved and started going to ADL’s meetings for young professionals. ADL’s work in Holocaust education and anti-bias training aligned with her personal mission to fight hate.
ADL asked her to participate in the Steinberg Leadership Institute training, which gave her a deeper connection to ADL’s work. Afterwards, she served on the Civil Rights and International Affairs Committees and helped plan a conference on cyberbullying. She was asked to join the regional board and then the executive committee. On the national level, she is an Associate National Commissioner.
In addition to her work with ADL, Stacy volunteers with nonprofits that keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. “I don’t want the people who were murdered and those who survived to be forgotten. It’s important to keep their stories alive.”
In creating her estate plans, she included ADL and other nonprofits to make sure that her support for ADL’s work would continue. “To me, most of the world’s problems are caused by hate. ADL is the premier organization fighting against hate and having a real impact.”
Meet Wendy T.
Build a World Without Hate:
Wendy T.’s parents valued hard work, education and Jewish identity. But the most important lesson they imparted to their daughter, through their philanthropy and their actions, was to treat everyone equally, fairly and respectfully.
Even as a teenager, Wendy began to follow in their footsteps, working for Planned Parenthood and fighting for civil rights. It’s clear that she has incorporated her parents’ values into her own approach to life, to raising her five sons (aged 19-33), and to her philanthropy.
Wendy is proud to be a third-generation San Franciscan. After college, she joined her father’s business and they worked together in the trade show industry, running gift and home furnishing trade shows, including the San Francisco International Gift Fair, with a side business in commercial real estate investment. “It was the most magical experience,” Wendy said. “I loved working with my father. He was an amazing role model, and it never seemed like work—it was like I was getting paid to have fun.
Her father passed away 15 years ago, and Wendy has continued to manage the real estate business, although they have sold the trade shows.
“I felt deeply about what my long-term giving would be in terms of something more permanent, so I made a planned gift…I wanted to show my commitment to supporting ADL, and set an example for my children.”
Working full time and raising five children didn’t leave her much time to volunteer. But about ten years ago, when her kids were a little older and the time was right, she dived in. She joined various boards, including The San Francisco Botanical Garden Society, Marin Center for Independent Living, University of Oregon School of Business and the ADL.
Wendy’s approach to making change is very practical. “I saw that there was a huge need in our region for additional development support—we were missing so many opportunities because we didn’t have deep enough staff.” So, she made a grant to support the salary of an assistant development director for five years, an investment she believed would eventually pay for itself. But she wanted to do more to make a lasting difference, so she added a bequest to ADL to her will. “I felt deeply about what my long-term giving would be in terms of something more permanent, so I made a planned gift of a million dollars. I wanted to show my commitment to supporting ADL, and send a message to my children.”
Wendy believes that ADL is more important than ever today. She’s concerned about the frightening rise in hate, discrimination and especially anti-Semitism. Marin County, where she lives, “had the largest number of reported anti-Semitic incidents in the entire Bay Area in 2016.
I live in a little left-of-center suburb of San Francisco that is accepting and tolerant for the most part, and it’s shocking to see this behavior in high school and middle school students.” She cites some recent incidents:
“A swastika carved into a desk at a high-end private school; someone suspended from middle school for doing a Heil Hitler salute.” With so few Holocaust survivors left to bear witness, Wendy says, it’s important to address these incidents and ensure that generations to come are aware of what happened, and continue to fight against all forms of hate and bigotry.
Wendy is consciously modeling philanthropy and community involvement for her children, as her parents did for her. And she’s proud that her oldest son has already done some nonprofit philanthropic work. “Philanthropy is something you have to be taught, and you can give in many different ways. I hope my kids will carry on what I received from my parents.”
Meet Stanley K.
Giving from the Heart:
Stanley K. decided to establish an endowment gift of $1 million to help ADL Imagine a World Without Hate™.
A resident of Florida, originally from New York and New Jersey, he said, “I congratulate ADL on the past 100 years of success, and I want to ensure even greater success for ADL at the start of its second century.”
“I decided that a $1 million gift to ADL would be a personally meaningful gift that comes from both my heart and my finances. I chose an endowment gift because I was thrilled that it will generate 5 percent of the $1 million, or $50,000, to ADL every year, forever!”
Meet Eric and Linda H.
Combating Antisemitism Wherever It Occurs:
“We feel that our gift will help ADL protect the safety and security of the world. We hope others will be inspired by what we’ve done and consider a legacy gift, too.”
California Bay area ADL supporters Eric and Linda H. recently made a generous $1 million lifetime cash pledge to the Legacy Endowment Campaign – Funding for the Future (LEC-FFF).
“We feel that our gift will help ADL protect the safety and security of the world. We hope others will be inspired by what we’ve done and consider a legacy gift, too.”
Meet Marty and Aviva B.
Creating Legacy of Leadership:
“We have to remember how important it is to strengthen ADL’s ability to continue fighting antisemitism and hate. That’s why we made a legacy gift to support the ADL Foundation,” Marty says.
Marty and his wife Aviva, of Connecticut, decided to make their gift in the form of a bequest intent and gift of cash.
Marty has been an active ADL leader since the mid-1980s. He is a member of ADL’s National Advisory Committee, a Trustee of the ADL Foundation, and served as Co-Chair of the ADL Centennial Committee.
“It is a rare and special occasion for ADL to have existed for 100 years, one that we should view as a blessing and that we should cherish and utilize as a catalyst to move this important organization forward into the future.”
Meet Cynthia B.
Supporting Civil Rights:
Cynthia B. set up an endowment fund to honor her late husband Edward.
Ed was a senior partner at a law firm and one of the founding members of one of ADL’s Regional Lawyers’ Divisions. To memorialize Ed’s prominence in the legal community, Cynthia made a gift to name the ADL Legal Conference in his memory. The Conference, held annually, is highly regarded.
“Ed believed passionately, as I do, in ADL’s mission to support civil rights and fight hatred,” Cynthia explained.
Cynthia made a personal choice to set up the endowment with retirement assets so that her husband’s name and ADL’s work would continue in perpetuity. This is just one of the many ways to make a gift to ADL.
Meet Dr. Allen K.
Championing Respect and Understanding:
Dr. Allen K. made multiple gifts to ADL over the past few years, including two charitable gift annuities.
Allen chose a charitable gift annuity as a way to give because it’s a way that both paid him an income and benefited ADL.
Before his passing, he told us, “ADL is a proactive organization that I hope will diminish hostility and antisemitism, replacing it with respect and understanding. The gifts that I give to them can be used for this purpose. I can’t do that, but they can.”
ADL is grateful for Dr. Allen K.’s generosity during his lifetime, which will live on for years to come.
Meet Art and Sandy R.
Engaging the World:
Art and Sandy established a charitable remainder trust (CRT) in support of ADL. “We chose this particular type of gift because a trust is a win-win,” Art said.
ADL “gets the money in a trust now, and we receive annual payments from the trust for the rest of our lives to fund our retirement. It helps ADL continue its important work while being financially advantageous to us. When the trust terminates, the remainder will pass to ADL Foundation.”
“We must ensure that ADL has the financial base to move forward into the future so it can engage with the world in the next century.”
Meet Larry B.
Creating a Legacy to End Antisemitism
Larry was born in 1944 in New York City, a year before WWII ended. In the early 1900s, his grandparents had immigrated to the US from Eastern Europe to escape anti-Semitic persecution.
After the war, they were active in a self-established local society of individuals who had immigrated from the same geographic area, including some who had survived the Holocaust. Thus, from an early age, he was acutely aware of the scourge of antisemitism. Throughout his life, he felt that what had happened in Germany could happen again. In 2019, he was very disturbed by the increase in antisemitic incidents documented by the ADL. For this reason, he decided to make a generous contribution to the organization upon his death, which occurred in March 2020. He asked that the gift be used to further the organization’s educational activities to end antisemitism.