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Women’s Philanthropy Takes Pride in Its Lions

November 7, 2012 By:
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Event Co-Chair Phyllis Finkelstein pins Laura Spain with her late mother’s Lion pin as she follows in her philanthropic footsteps. Photos by Jordan Cassway

Philadelphia’s Lions of Judah, generous and passionate philanthropists who make a minimum gift of $5,000 to the Federation annual campaign, roared on two separate yet equally special occasions in recent months.

In early September, 43 local lions spent three amazing days in New York City for the International Lion of Judah Conference. Reveling in the company of some 1,700 women from all over North America and inspired by such stimulating speakers as Philadelphia’s own Gail Norry — the chair of National Women’s Philanthropy for Jewish Federations of North America — the Philadelphia delegation contributed more than $536,000 to the 2013 Federation annual campaign.

They heeded Norry’s call to increase their gifts by 20 percent and contributed to the tremendous success of the conference, which raised a record-breaking $27 million for the 2013 Campaign.

During the conference, longtime Women’s Philanthropy member and proud Lion of Judah Ann Spain, z”l, was honored posthumously as Philadelphia’s 2012 Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award winner. Named for the founders of the ­Lion of Judah, Norma Kipnis-Wilson and Toby Friedland, z"l, this award recognizes extraordinary women who have set a high standard for philanthropy and volunteerism.

Special thanks to Philadelphia Recruitment Chairs Robin Batoff and Sheree Bloch, and Wom­en’s Philanthropy President Susan Schwartz for their efforts to put together a strong delegation of local women.

Ann Spain was recognized for a second time before an appreciative audience of more than 140 guests gathered for the Oct. 17 Lion of Judah Lunch­eon at POMME in Radnor. In a particularly poignant moment, Ann’s daughter, Laura Spain, received her mother’s signature Lion pin, becoming a member of the pride in her own right.

The program was a true Spain family affair as Ann’s husband, Murray, shared heartfelt remarks about his wife’s loving and compassionate nature immediately prior to the fundraising pitch given by Phyllis Finkelstein, who chaired the event along with Robin Zappin.

The pitch was apparently quite effective as the women in the room contributed over $1 million to the campaign.

Keynote speaker was the award-winning filmmaker Aviva Kempner.

For more information about Women’s Philanthropy or Lions of Judah, call Marni Davis, director of Women’s Philanthropy, at 215-832-0859.

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