Burned by Madoff, Lappin fund rebuilds
Burned by Madoff, Lappin fund rebuilds
Posted by Michael Paulson February 16, 2009 08:38 AM

Deborah Coltin, the part-time executive director of the Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation in Salem, writes a short blog post for eJewishPhilanthropy about the small Jewish community foundation's efforts to rebuild after being wiped out by Madoff. An excerpt:

"Until December 11, 2009, I had the best job in the Jewish non-profit world as executive director of the Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, whose mission is helping to keep our children Jewish. Bernard Madoff, a man whom I never met, swept into my life and into our community like a tsunami, wreaking havoc by wiping out all of the Foundation’s eight million dollars in assets, abruptly aborting life-changing Jewish programming and eliminating seven jobs held by passionate and dedicated Jewish communal workers. Stunned by shock, fear and betrayal, our Jewish community, the North Shore of Massachusetts, literally went into mourning."
Since abruptly closing its doors in December, the Lappin Foundation has now hired four part-timers, has raised $300,000 to send a group of local teens to Israel this summer, and Lappin himself is giving money to 17 programs. More from Coltin:

"The Jewish philanthropic world has been hit hard by Madoff, but we must salvage what we can. Rather than dwell on what cannot be funded, let us focus on and invest in what is doable, letting passion for the survival of our People inspire and guide us."
The Globe's Kathy McCabe wrote a story earlier this month, in Globe North, about the Lappin Foundation's efforts at a comeback:

Lappin, who owns Shetland Office Park in Salem, is also believed to have lost much personal wealth in the scandal. He did not respond to a request for comment.
But in a press release announcing his foundation's reopening, Lappin referenced the impact of the scandal. He also noted that an outpouring of community support led him to restart his charity.

"After recovering from the initial shock of having the foundation's assets wiped out, along with much of my own, and with the 2009 Youth to Israel Adventure campaign successfully completed, I have had time to assess the situation, and have concluded that with some help from others, I will find the wherewithal to reinstate most of the programs," he wrote.

(Photo, by Steven Senne/AP, shows the Lappin Foundation headquarters in Salem in December 2008.)

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