Professional Advisor Profile: Ruth Bender

In my role as Director of Philanthropic Funds at the Federation, I have the privilege of working in one way or another with all of our Donor Advised Fund clients and their Funds. Sometimes, this means there is less time than I’d like to engage more deeply with individual clients. There are still opportunities, however, for me to have the deeper conversations and engagement opportunities with clients, and assist them in their philanthropic endeavors.

When Emma Mayerson walked into our offices as a Kohn Intern several years ago, we began talking about our shared interest in philanthropy in general, and supporting girls and women, and social justice in particular. Over the years, I got to know more about Emma, and cheered as she launched Alliance for Girls. She was digging in deep and using her smarts to really move the needle on an issue that mattered to her and to me.

It took longer to get to meet and know Arlene. Initially, our contact was transactional. When I finally got to meet her in person, and began to learn about her background and work, I realized I was in the presence of a true leader in the world of social justice and equal rights. As I learned the story of how both Emma and Arlene came to their philanthropy and personal work, I smiled at the joy they took in sharing this path. They are both pioneers and have so much to share, yet they are equally excited to engage with and learn from those around them.

Their shared philanthropic journey is ongoing and, despite the solid base they have created, they realize that their philanthropy is still evolving, and they are open to that, and excited to share the journey. Their use of the simple, effective Donor Advised Fund at the Federation as their vehicle allows them more time to focus on the issues. I hope that they continue to find that working through the Federation and a Donor Advised Fund is the most efficient and effective means for them. I look forward to watching where they go and supporting them on this journey.

To contact Ruth and our Donor Advised Fund staff, email

Categories: Community, Philanthropy


June 01, 2015


Ruth Bender