Sam Pollack

People should also consider what skills they have and how they may be to help a charitable organization.

Location: New York, New York

Profession: Compliance

What was the first charitable gift you ever gave?: My earliest gift I recall was putting loose change in a tzedakah box (small box that Jewish people use for charity).

What is your charity of choice today and why?: I have three charities to which I devote my time, talent and treasure. UJA, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and Selfhelp. UJA is an umbrella philanthropic organization and I feel that I’m able to help the greatest amount of people by donating to UJA. JDC provides help to Jews around the world and has existed for 100 years. I’ve seen the work they do firsthand and am amazed at their innovative ways to help those in need. Finally, Selfhelp provides assistance to Holocaust survivors and I’m passionate about helping this dwindling population.

Who inspires you to give?: My family always taught me to give back. I also find that the most successful people are also often very philanthropic.

What motivates you to give of your time and dollars?: I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given in life. My time and my dollars help to express my gratitude.

What advice do you have for others to consider giving?: Giving is often associated with writing a check and people are often turned off by having to donate money. But, money is what helps organizations do the work they’re doing. Even small amounts matter so I’d encourage people to give what they can and to spread the donation out over the year so it feels less burdensome than giving all at once. I also think that people should also consider what skills they have and how they may be to help a charitable organization. For example, a person with strong web design skills would be an invaluable resource to help an organization maintain its webpage.


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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