Get to know our member, allison gingold

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Allison Gingold has long been a force in Los Angeles’s philanthropic community. She has been an active leader in the Sylvia Weisz Women’s Philanthropy for the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles for more than 15 years. Serving as Chair of L’Dor V’dor numerous times, she has inspired thousands of women and men to step up in support of the Jewish community.

Her commitment to the Jewish community extends to her involvement in the American Jewish University. Elected President of University Women of American Jewish University in 2013, she continued her presidency for three years, providing educational and cultural programs for women, including a focus on Jewish themes, personal spirituality, world awareness, health and community activism. “I was proud to help bring new life to University Women, to engage more women in AJU,” Allison explains.

Allison remained involved in the philanthropic community, and when a medical issue affected her family, Allison became the L.A. affiliate for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. She got involved with the American Heart Association and began government advocacy work with the state. “I wanted to make CPR training a requirement to graduate high school. So I worked diligently, contacting and sitting down and emailing and pleading with every single government official and superintendent, all the way up to Sacramento,” Allison says. Her passion and persistence paid off. Allison eventually got the ear of Mayor Eric Garcetti, who wrote a note endorsing CPR training and defibrillator installations in Los Angeles schools. “I felt it as though it was our duty, because we had been so blessed, to shape up and serve LA’s community.”

Allison met Mindy Freedman through the Brentwood school grapevine. Over lunch, Mindy told Allison about a group of women she had formed to pool their money and invest in nonprofits and social enterprises. She called it SAM. Mindy was speaking Allison’s language. “That’s my dream,” Allison told Mindy. “I’d wanted to start a foundation, just like the one Mindy was describing, and figure out who to give the money to,” Allison says. “Our values were completely aligned.”

“Just tell me when and where to sign up,” she told Mindy.

Soon, Allison joined the board and took an active role as nominating chair; later she served on SAM’s due diligence committee. “It’s beyond rewarding,” she says. Along the way, she’s formed a camaraderie with the other women in SAM. “We’re on this journey together,” she explains. “We’re like-minded, but we all have a different outlook on the world and our part in it. We want to feel that our giving is purposeful, that we know where the money is going and that we have the power to make the difference. I’ve gotten to know so many women from different fields who also have other philanthropic organizations that they work with or that they created. I just really enjoy getting a different perspective from so many women as to why they invest their time in certain organizations.”

Allison has found her philanthropic work more satisfying and rewarding than even she had anticipated. “I’m really proud of what SAM has accomplished. I’m so inspired by all of these women. Working with them solidifies my purpose in life and what I want to do in the community, knowing that there are like-minded people that are there with me.”