There’s one question Montefiore Foundation director Debbie Rothschild always gets: How do you ask for money?
“I don’t look at it that way,” Rothschild said. “If I really do my job and I do it well, I give them the opportunity to walk away and feel really good about what they’ve done.”
Rothschild’s career raising money for the Jewish community, for the Jewish National Fund and now Montefiore, began with a 1995 trip to Israel.
“It changed my life,” Rothschild said. “Connecting to the land and people of Israel dramatically changed who I am and from that point forward I really felt strongly that I wanted to work in the Jewish community and raise my family with strong Jewish values.”
That sense of giving has remained strong – enlivened even more so by her recent donation of a kidney.
“That experience was really transformative,” Rothschild said. “I was given an opportunity to help someone and I jumped on it and it was one of the best experiences I can imagine.”
Recently, Rothschild has given people more opportunities to give to Montefiore – with resounding success. A spring 2015 brunch brought in more than $100,000 for Montefiore’s new in-home memory care program. A summer 5K brought in more than $55,000.
“The 5K was way out of our comfort zone,” Rothschild said. “Why not do something that the community can get involved and have fun with and raise a few shekels (with) at the same time?”
The power of giving is something that has transfixed Rothschild for a long time.
“If everyone did whatever they could in terms of giving, whether it’s time, talent, treasure or all of that, if you give in whatever way you can, if everyone did that, what a beautiful world it would be, right?” Rothschild said.
At a Glance
Name: Debbie Rothschild
As a professional: Montefiore
Children: Lilly, 15; Bradley, 10; Melissa, 10
Synagogue: B’nai Jeshurun Congregation
In the community: B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, Gross Schechter Day School, Montefiore