Basserabie donates $1m to JCA

April 29, 2015 by Lauren Finn
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Sydney’s JCA has launched it’s 2015 Campaign and announced a $1 million donation from Mervyn Basserabie.

JCA President Stephen Chipkin, Judy Lowy and Mervyn Basserabie

JCA President Stephen Chipkin, Judy Lowy and Mervyn Basserabie

President Stephen Chipkin related how  astounded he was after years in fundraising to take a call from a donor offering to give him $1million unsolicited.  In line with global fundraising trends, Mervyn wanted his gift proportioned in certain ways.  A certain percentage was allocated to JCA’s general appeal.  A large portion was then allocated to a fund being established to subsidise Year 10 student trips to Israel.  The balance was nominated for three full scholarships cover 12 years of study at Moriah College. Mervyn then stipulated that he would like one of these scholarships to be named in honour of Frank Lowy.

“We are lucky to have a number of very generous families in our community, names that come to mind are the Scheinberg/Dunkel families, the John Hammond Trust, the Roths, the Smorgons, Kevin Bermeister, the Vidor families, the Graf and Goldberg families, Harry Triguboff, Bob Magid and his sister, Nora Goodridge.  BUT there is one man that stands out … everyone always goes to him for everything …of course I am talking about Frank Lowy and the Lowy family. Frank’s contribution to the Australian and Israeli communities, Australian business and sport is immeasurable … And it is for this reason that I have decided to give a Moriah school bursary in his honour.” said Mervyn at the launch.

Mervyn explained that much of his motivation was the sheer joy of giving to others, and that he considered it an honour and privilege to help fellow Jewish families. His benchmark for giving is that if a substantial donation can change the lives of other people whilst not impacting on his wealth and lifestyle, there is no reason not to give.  This philosophy is shared by other big givers like Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.  He asked guests to consider their financial situations and asked a question “Will I rather be remembered by what I made, or would I rather be remembered by what I gave? I know one thing for sure … Everyone in this room would rather be a giver than a receiver.”  He urged donors not to reflect on their previous donations when giving to the campaign next month and to really consider what they can give to the community with an open heart.

Chipkin thanked Basserabie for his unique gesture  that combines charity, generosity of spirit and the honouring of others. He said that he had set an example for us all with the difference that his donation will make to our community.

JCA’s 2015 Campaign will commence on 26 May with a series of major donor events, two large communal functions in the East (14 and 16 June) and one large event on the North on 20 June.  Guest speakers include Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief and international philanthropist and social innovator Gerardo Porteny Backal.  Backal was one of the advisors to the UN Women’s #HeforShe campaign that gained international attention with Emma Watson’s famous speech.

With supporters ranging from large donors to constituent presidents to hosts and volunteers, a crowd of over 130 people attended the event at Moriah College.



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