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8.23.13 Issue

by Mary Bort, Endowment Assistant, Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation

The Murray H. and Sharee Newman Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Omaha (JFO) Foundation was established in 1987 with an initial gift of $100,000 from Sharee and Murray Newman. Since then, the Newman Supporting Foundation has awarded nearly $337,000 in grants for programs provided by Jewish Federation of Omaha agencies, other Jewish non-profits organizations and secular charities in the Omaha area.

The Newman Supporting Foundation Board of Trustees meets annually to determine grant allocations for the upcoming year.  When they meet this fall, a new member will join in their deliberations.

“On behalf of the Trustees of the Murray H. and Sharee Newman Supporting Foundation, I am pleased to announce the addition of Danielle Gordman as a Trustee,” stated Jeff Kirshenbaum, president. “Danielle has been very active in the Omaha community since her arrival in Omaha. We look forward to her being a part of the Newman Supporting Foundation Board of Trustees.”

Kirshenbaum continued, “Danielle’s volunteer experience is a wonderful match for the goals set out by Murray, Sharee and the Trustees in providing grants to many of the Jewish community’s educational and social action programs sponsored by a variety of organizations and institutions.”

Gordman replaces outgoing Trustee Susie Noddle. The Newman Supporting Foundation Board of Trustees now includes Kirshenbaum, Sharee Newman, Lisa Lewis, Jamie Friedland, Jay Lerner, Murray Newman and Gordman.  The Newmans, Lewis and Lerner have served as trustees since the Newman Supporting Foundation was founded. Dr. Patricia Newman was a founding trustee who served until 2009, and the late Harlan Noddle and David Friedland were also founding trustees.

Danielle Gordman grew up on Long Island, NY. After graduating from Indiana University with a degree in political science and East Asian studies, she moved to Washington, DC and worked there for two years. Gordman lived in Israel for six months, returned to Washington, DC, and soon after met Jeff Gordman on a blind date. They eventually married and, sixteen years ago, Danielle moved here to Jeff’s hometown of Omaha. The Gordmans have two children: eleven year old Harper and nine year old Zev.

Her involvement as a volunteer for non-profit organizations heightened Gordman’s awareness of the needs in the Jewish and secular communities. This interest led her to earn an M.A. in mental health counseling from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

“Danielle’s experience and education will strengthen our board of trustees’ capability to assess grant applications and award grants to worthwhile programs that will truly make a difference for its constituents,” noted Kirshenbaum.

Gordman is a member of the Anti-Defamation League’s board and serves on Temple Israel’s board of trustees. She is a member of the Presenters board, the guild for Omaha Performing Arts. Gordman also serves on the Regency Homeowner’s Association board and recently joined the board of the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition.

In recognition of her commitment, involvement and leadership, Gordman received the 2009 Lois Jeanne Schrager Memorial Young Leadership Award. She has volunteered for the Jewish Federation of Omaha, Jewish Family Service, Friedel Jewish Academy, the 2010 Maccabi Games and other organizations. Gordman also received the 2007 Jewish Community Center Volunteer of the Year Award for her service as the committee chair for the Pennie Z. Davis Child Development Center.

Gordman has co-chaired a number of fund-raising events in support of various programs in Omaha. Through her activities, she met Murray and Sharee Newman and learned about their supporting foundation.

“Over the years, we’ve become friends with Murray and Sharee,” explained Gordman. “We were hosting an event for the symphony, and Murray pulled me aside and asked me to join the Newman Supporting Foundation. I was very surprised and truly honored. I happily accepted.”

“The Newmans do incredible work in the community with their time and financial resources,” she continued. “I’m honored to help them with their efforts.”

Gordman credits her parents for showing the importance of volunteering for one’s community. “When my parents moved to St. Louis in 1989, my mom became a full time volunteer,” said Gordman. “She encouraged me to do the same when I moved here, and is a wonderful role model. Dad served on various boards, and cared deeply for his adoptive home town, having grown up in Queens, NY. My grandparents also volunteered their time to their respective communities and to their synagogues.”

“Volunteerism is a way of life for me,” continued Gordman. “I feel blessed to be able to offer my time and knowledge to these organizations, and help them move forward with their missions. Donations are important, but being a good steward for the community is more rewarding for me.”

The Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation works closely with its supporting foundations, managing and investing funds, administering operations and making disbursements from time to time as directed by the supporting foundation boards.  To learn more about establishing a supporting foundation, please contact Howard Epstein, JFO Foundation Executive Director, at 402.334.6466.