Jaime Novikoff

I am very into healthy living and raising money through activities such as running…

Location: Washington, D.C.

Profession: Director of Labor and Associate Relations, Interstate Hotels and Resorts

What was the first gift you ever gave?:

That is a really tough question to remember that far back! I remember in elementary school we used to participate in programs such as Jump for the Heart, which allowed us to raise money through sponsorship from our family and family friends and learn about healthy living and staying active as an important goal in life – that has stayed with me since I am very into healthy living and raising money through activities such as running.

What is your charity of choice?:

I have a few health related charities that are close to my heart. First, I have Celiac Disease, which is an autoimmune disease that is triggered by eating foods containing gluten. Every year I participate in a local Celiac Walk in Baltimore, Maryland, which is a great way to raise money and meet other Celiac families in the area. They always do a vendor fair after the event which includes a silent auction to raise even more money. Second, my cousin suffers from Marfan Syndrome, which is a connective tissue disorder. She was diagnosed at birth, which is its most dangerous form, and had to have her first major heart surgery at five months old. Every year my cousin organizes a benefit/gala in Westchester, NY to raise money for Marfans. My husband and I are also active in the Jewish philanthropic community in Washington, D.C.

Who inspires you to give?:

Hearing heart warming stories of people that suffer from medical and financial hardships.

What motivates you to give?:

Knowing that every little bit counts. It could be discouraging to give if you are not in a position to give a large donation, but so many charities and organizations stress that every little bit counts. If everyone just gives what they can give, rather than relying a few giving a large amount, we really can make a difference. There are so many ways to give just a small amount that benefits someone in such a large way. For example, my company sponsors families that are in need during the holiday time and every person is encouraged to buy something small for a member of the family, and together we can give the family clothes and food to get through the winter.

How do you give of your time?:

I like to participate in races and other fitness activities that raise money for charity. I am also an alumni ambassador for my college, and conduct alumni contact sessions. I also try to participate in local volunteer opportunities through my alumni club or the Jewish Federation, such as Hanukkah celebrations at a local senior home or Earth Day cleanups of the local area.

What advice do you have for others to consider giving?:

I can’t emphasize enough that every little bit counts. If you think that your $25 isn’t going to make an impact, think again. Give what you feel comfortable giving, and know that while it may sound like a little to you, it can make a huge impact in the aggregate.


Julia Levy, Founder, has a decade of development experience, including working for a philanthropist, a small nonprofit and now a large nonprofit. She has raised significant dollars for numerous causes, from education to religion and from donors of all ages. Julia holds a Certificate in Fundraising from NYU’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and an undergraduate degree from Cornell University. Julia has taught fundraising workshops, most recently at Brooklyn Brainery and coached development professionals.

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Why We Give tells stories of ordinary philanthropists, making a difference, dollar by dollar and hour by hour.  

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