[Sarasota, FL – March 24, 2014] AJC (American Jewish Committee) West Coast Florida Region held its most successful fundraising dinner ever on March 17th at Michael’s On East in Sarasota, when AJC’s Executive Director, David Harris, was honored with its 2014 Human Relations Award. AJC’s Regional Vice President, Gerri Aaron, one of the most prominent philanthropists in Sarasota, received AJC’s Legacy of Leadership Award. The dinner chairs were Larry and Debbie Haspel and Matt and Lisa Walsh, and Bea Friedman.
Marilyn and Irv Naiditch honored Regional Director Brian Lipton with a surprise gift of $100,000 to AJC. This gift put the net proceeds of the gala at $500,000, and was one of the largest gifts ever given to AJC in honor of a Regional Director. Marilyn Naiditch, a Regional Board Member, thanked Lipton for his dedication and passion, resulting in new heights of success for the Region over the past seven years since Lipton joined AJC as its Regional Director.
David Harris, who has led AJC since 1990, has been described as “the consummate Jewish diplomat of our time.” He has been honored by numerous foreign governments for his international efforts in defense of human rights, advancement of the transatlantic partnership, and dedication to the Jewish people. He has written hundreds of articles, op-eds, letters, and reviews in leading media outlets, and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, El Pais in Spain, and L’Opinione in Italy. Since 2001, he has had a weekly spot on the CBS Radio Network reaching millions of listeners across the United States.
Gerri Aaron, AJC Regional Vice President and recipient of the Legacy of Leadership Award, was recognized for her lifetime work in support of the arts, education, the environment, healthcare, human services, and Jewish causes. She came to be very involved with AJC after she received AJC’s Human Relations Award in 2011, and has been a leading force for the organization since that time.
The common thread throughout the key participants in the gala – the Haspels, Walshes, and Gerri Aaron, was their attendance at AJC’s annual meeting last year – the Global Forum, in Washington, DC. In their remarks, each of them spoke enthusiastically of their experiences meeting with world leaders, foreign ministers, and journalists about key issues affecting Jews and non-Jews worldwide. For information about attending the Global Forum, May 12-14, please contact AJC at 941-365-4955.
Brian Lipton thanked supporters for their generosity, which has enabled AJC to continue its work addressing its three top priorities – The Safety and Security of Israel; Stopping Iran’s Nuclear Threat; Stopping Global anti-Semitism. The proceeds of the gala dinner help AJC further its mission to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel and to advance democratic values around the world. For more information about AJC, please visit www.ajc.org.