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Charitable Giving

A message from our CEO Ben Genet:

While your property and leasing needs are top priorities for Genet Property Group, philanthropic giving is an essential component of our company vision.

The abundance mentality that drives my personal brand of entrepreneurship carries over to how and to where I give charity. I passionately believe in taking philanthropy to a new level by giving in a way that is impactful to the local South Florida community, as well as to Israel and the Jewish people.

“I believe in the power of education to promote confidence
and create lifetime opportunities.”

 I believe in the power of education to promote confidence and create lifetime opportunities, which is why schools are a prime recipient of our charitable giving. Many of the educational programs I support are local, including Brauser Maimonides Academy and Katz Yeshiva High School, connections driven through our children.  These charitable connections also extend far beyond the American borders to Yeshivot in Israel such as Orayta in the Old City of Jerusalem, where my youngest son studied for a year. The school’s positive energy, strong Zionistic teachings, and unfailing acceptance and support of students enlisting in the Israeli army were the impetus for accelerating my donation to dedicate the new Bimah for the school’s synagogue.

The desire for charitable involvement also emanates from my own experiences. In 2005, I went to Ethiopia on a Jewish Federation charitable mission. Prior to the trip, I had a minimal understanding of the plight of the Ethiopian Jews beyond Operation Moses. Visiting Gondar and observing abject poverty and illiteracy firsthand was an overwhelming experience. My brother David was funding the tuition of an Ethiopian student who had finished the army. After personally seeing the need, I decided to make a major gift in memory of my dad to send Ethiopians to university once they finished the Israeli army. In 2008, the Broward Jewish Federation also became a partner; more than 60 Ethiopian immigrants have been the beneficiaries of the Ethiopian Israel Scholarship Program at IDC Hertzliya, a prestigious successful start-up university.

“It’s always an empowering process watching how charity can change someone’s life.”

Giving someone an education is not only about providing learning opportunities and promoting self-confidence. For me, it’s the equivalent of giving them freedom. I have personally witnessed the progress of young Ethiopian men and women whose parents were illiterate, who immigrated to Israel, attended regular public school, entered the army where they are not judged by color but by capabilities, and then became officers, paving the way for admission into the IDC Herzliya. The results have been inspiring and extremely gratifying. One graduate has gone on to be a Rhodes Scholar. Others have become lawyers, CEOs of companies, venture capitalists, or worked for the Israeli Ministry of Justice while some are just figuring it out – and that is okay too because the journey is sometimes as important as the destination. It is always an empowering process watching how charity can change someone’s life.

Philosophically, I am enamored with the inclusivity of open tent orthodoxy and am intent on supporting educational institutions which are strong proponents of women’s rights and are dedicated to educating future Zionistic leaders. In 2021, I committed to raising the money to build a new auditorium in Ulpanat Oria, a girls’ high school in Gush Etzion, Israel. The mission of the school is to “develop Jewish young women who are proud of their faith and their observance, who can express their beliefs in an articulate manner, who are responsible and active citizens of the State of Israel.”  The Gush has always been a strategic historic spot and my goal is to help build an infrastructure for promoting religious Zionistic feminism and creating opportunities for religious Zionistic feminist leaders.

It’s difficult to choose a favorite charity, but my support as a founder of the eponymous Dorit & Ben J. Genet Cupboard is high on my list. My involvement stemmed from a desire to help a friend who had taken over as board chair of Jewish Family Services. I rented space to help establish the first kosher food bank in Broward County and was so overwhelmed by the need and so impressed with the operation that I committed to supporting it in a major way. I’ve lived in Broward County for more than 30 years and I had no idea how many Jewish families were actually in need of services. The statistics are a powerful reminder of the ongoing importance of giving in your own community.

“Our involvement in philanthropy as a couple
often evolves from local friendships and connections.” 

Our involvement in philanthropy as a couple often evolves from local friendships and connections. We have volunteered our time as board members to Kesher, the premier independent Jewish Day School for students with learning disabilities and developmental delays, and we are both sponsors and volunteers of Surfers Healing South Florida, a free-of-charge original surf camp for children with autism. Genet Property Group is also a participating member of the Annual MS Gala Luncheon National Multiple Sclerosis Society, South Florida Chapter.

“Philanthropic partnerships fuel my passion for giving.”

Philanthropic partnerships fuel my passion for giving.  Together with The Jewish Federation of Broward County, Healing Hearts, and Dorit, my wife and true partner in life, I have committed to create and name the kosher family lounge and kitchen that will be located on the eighth floor of the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood.

As parents, Dorit and I have personally experienced the challenge of navigating a pediatric medical crisis. Thanks to the generosity of friends and family, kosher food was not an issue. But it made us aware of the lack of kosher options available to families who are in need of medical care in Broward County.

With the exponential growth of the South Florida Jewish community, I know there will be an increase in the need for supporting services and programs.

My goal is to be at the forefront, both in real estate and charitable contributions, in a way that will be impactful and meaningful, the two guiding principles in my professional and personal life.

 

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