Lee R. Goldberg's Story
I was born in Bronx NY into an immigrant Jewish family that came through Ellis Island. As we say it these days… that is how I “identify”. Yet, it was important back then, and certainly in my family, to assimilate into, and thrive in, American society.
However, part of that “assimilation” and rise into the mid-1900’s average American middle-class included an edict that we were never to forget who we were or where we came from. That edict required that you do what you can to help those still struggling and less fortunate than you. (I can’t count how many times my grandmothers told me to eat everything on my plate because there were starving kids in Europe. It made no sense to me at the time … but the price for challenging my grandmothers was too high.)
So charity in my mind as a kid was donating/raising money for charitable purposes, and volunteering in charitable organizations. I watched my mother and grandmothers take leadership roles in various religious-based charitable entities. I watched as my father volunteered in financial leadership positions and sat on Boards at the synagogue. And of course, I raised money every Halloween (in a small tin can for UNICEF, and got some candy too), and participated in food and clothing drives regularly as a kid in my parents’ household. I never really had any passion for it. It was just expected of me.
When it came time to raise my own family, that expectation pervaded. My former spouse, as a very well respected lawyer herself, sat on the Boards for a number of years for several well-established charities including CCAP, CASA, and Mary’s Shelter. I spent my time volunteering in the local youth sports leagues. And again, the family regularly participated in 5k walks, various fundraisers, and food and clothing drives. Then my daughter, while in high school, was one of the co-chairpersons of the first Aliso Viejo Relay for Life. I thought it was cute. They then raised more than $80,000 in 24 hours.
I think that’s when it first started to hit me … maybe the everyday person really can make a difference. However, it was not until years later, when both my kids left the house to start their own lives and careers (both dedicating their lives to the service of others in the healthcare industry – about which I am very proud), that I had the time, the resources, and frankly, the desire, to do a little bit more.
It started when a friend and client asked me to assist her with her dream to help the children of underserved communities. So in 2015, I formed, and continue to be a Board member of, Necessities for Children (www.necessiotiesforchildren.org). NFC is a registered 501c3 organization whose mission is to provide support to underserved children by enhancing and enabling computer science education; resulting in critical skill development, empowerment, and a better quality of life. Every child has the potential to change poverty in their community; NFC helps these children get started. This has become a passion.
Then the next year, another friend and client asked that I help him and his wife form an organization dedicated to protecting those who serve all of us – law enforcement officers. Most people do not know that not all police departments provide their officers with the necessary protective gear to be on the streets. Often, this leaves the officer (usually newly sworn) with the regrettable choice to provide for his/her family while going without protection. So, in 2016, I formed, and continue to be a Board member of, E614 Corporation (www.e614.org). E614 is a 501c3 charitable organization that provides level III ballistic body armor at no cost to officers in need nationwide. To date, E614 has provided body armor to 934 officers but has a waitlist of over 4,500 officers in need. That’s 4,500 LEO’s whose lives are still at daily unnecessary risk for lack of protective equipment. Again, this has become a passion to resolve.
Finally, I also give as much time and expertise as I can to my dear friend Antoinette Balta, the executive director of Veterans Legal Institute (www.vetslegal.com). VLI is a registered 501c3 committed to assisting low-income veterans and their families at no cost with legal representation and administrative assistance in connection with their rights, privileges, and government programs. Once again, my passion lies with this organization as these are the people that have sacrificed so my family can live in a safe and free country, and yet, for the most part, they have been abandoned by our society.
My focus is now on helping with our local community needs by supporting the people close to me and their causes. I feel that in supporting the charitable passions of my friends and clients, my world has become enhanced. However, I feel that my journey has just begun. I look forward to being present and actively involved as and when I see the need arise and where I can help. If you would like to know more about any of the above organizations, please do not hesitate to contact me – we would love to have you come aboard.