Philanthropic Friday – Philanthropic Moms Honor Roll

This Philanthropic Friday is all about Nancy Rabinowitz Friedman and with very good reason. Nancy is a person who makes things grow. She does so in a way that not only leaves you in awe of her contribution, but also keeps the laughter alive. She is generous – giving everything’s she has got to the causes she feels so strongly about. Nancy does so simply in the name of supporting what she believes in. Fame, notoriety and legacy are not on her radar – seeing progress and doing the right thing are. There is something so honest and so endless about the way Nancy gives. The list of where she shines her amazing light is quite extensive. She focuses her philanthropic passion on a wide range organizations and issues – ranging from the arts to kids and much more. Still, it seems there is always something more that Nancy is up to – lending her amazing energy and time. And when asked, Nancy says “yes” and then goes on to ask, “What else could we do?”.  And then she does.

Nancy applies her standard of care and energy to all the areas of her life. She sees all she does as an opportunity to help others. Be it her remarkable business success with Kidzvuz, where there is always a philanthropic tie-in or an opportunity to inspire a child – or her children’s school (where she is active and engaged) – she is there in reliable, authentic ways. When I was honored by the R Baby Foundation a few year ago, Nancy jumped right in and helped in remarkable ways. As for Nancy’s friendship – that is a gift too. She brings humor, wit and yes, that same amazing care to the mix. When I see, talk to or even think about Nancy, I leave smiling – it is that simple. So today, meet our philanthropic mom, Nancy Rabinowitz Friedman and let the sunshine in!

Nancy Rabinowitz Friedman

From Hip to Housewife & KidzVuz

What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?

I think “Philanthropic Mom” is kind of a fancy word for saying “A Mom Who Does Good.”  And I try to be someone who “does good” in all kinds of ways throughout my life, whether it’s  when I’m being Vice Chair of The Transport Group Theatre Company board, or being a tour guide at my kids’ school, taking my kids to visit homebound elderly people in the neighborhood on Jewish Holidays, or even helping a women with a double stroller make it across a slushy NYC street. All of that is doing good work.  It’s not some organized thing I do, or some label. It’s how I try — emphasis on try – to live my life.

What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world? 

When I first graduated from college I did  a six-week training to become a Rape Crisis Counselor at a downtown hospital. Being a rape counselor was intense work.  I met women at their most vulnerable.  As a total stranger, I had to advocate for them and comfort them.  I never saw or heard from any of them again.  But each of the women I counseled stayed with me — changed me.  That experience – of intense closeness with women from all walks of life – hookers, college coeds, corporate execs, made me more able to see beyond people’s circumstances to who they really are.

Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?

What really inspires me are the small acts of kindness I see every day:  the woman who stops to help someone who has tripped; the teenager who gives up his seat on the bus; the guy who walks out of Zabars with a bag of groceries, and pulls out a sandwich to hand to the homeless man on the sidewalk.

Of course the Malala’s of the world are amazing, and inspiring – but everyday grace…that’s what gets me.

What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud? 

I’m proud when Transport wins an award.  I’m proud that every major event we have at KidzVuz has a Philanthropic component.  But mostly, I don’t really think of good works as something to be proud of.  Doing Good is what you’re supposed to do.  If you don’t do good, if all you do is for yourself, that’s notable. (in a bad way)  But if you do good, well, that’s just how it’s supposed to be.  Nothing to be proud of there.

What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?  

Legacy is way too big!  I just want people to remember me as someone who was good to others.  That’s good enough for me.

What would your children say about all of this?

They always complain when we drag them to the elder visits…but then they always like them. They feel good about going and making someone’s day.  So I think they’d grudgingly admit they’re proud of themselves and of me, for taking the time to not just write a check, but to check in with others, to see that they’re OK.