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Sheldon Zamick

Meet Sheldon Zamick, President of Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev – Manitoba Region, who shares his philanthropic philosophy and enthusiasm about Ben-Gurion University

posted Dec 12, 2018

A lifelong volunteer who began raising money for Israel in his teens, Sheldon Zamick has been President of CABGU Manitoba since 2013. Though the regional office had existed for many years, Sheldon saw that an infusion of energy was needed so he put his heart and soul into rebuilding interest in Ben-Gurion University. A gala event was planned, honouring Morley z’l and Marjorie Blankstein, in Sheldon’s view, “the Queen of Winnipeg philanthropic community” and more than $500K was raised in support of cyber security research at BGU.

Though Winnipeg’s Jewish population is under 14,000, the community is tight-knit and eager to support Jewish causes, especially Israel-based endeavors. CABGU’s events have received substantial interest and financial support. The above-mentioned Blankstein Gala, two golf tournaments and a variety of lectures and events have made CABGU a major player in Winnipeg’s Jewish community. Research Without Borders, the collaboration between CABGU and the St-Boniface Hospital Foundation to fund research in cardiovascular and food sciences and neurodegenerative disorders, has been extremely successful; since 2016 over $2M has been raised, enabling scientists at ST-B and BGU to accelerate their research and develop life-changing cures. Sheldon made a commitment to BGU's autism specialist, Dr. Ilan Dinstein, to raise funds for his research - CABGU Winnipeg has raised over $550k!

This campaign has also been a first in the community, twinning a Jewish and a Catholic institution. Sheldon was thrilled to see CABGU CEO, Mark Mendelson, receive the Jack Litvack Exemplary Service Award for outstanding leadership and service to the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences at St-Boniface Hospital’s Albrechtsen Research Centre, in recognition of the success of Research Without Borders.

Coming up at CABGU Winnipeg: a gala tribute to Howard and Hope Morry, scheduled for October 2019.

Among all the different events and campaigns Sheldon has been involved in, he has a soft spot for the Arni Thorsteinson Study Exchange Program to Israel. This program, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is sponsored by the Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation. It has allowed 100 students from the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business and BGU’s Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management to experience top-level learning and cultural enrichment in a foreign environment. Over the years, CABGU Winnipeg has welcomed many of the student visitors to community Shabbat dinners – meeting them in person and hearing what they have to say about this unique experience has been heart-warming for Sheldon and so many others.

As regional President, Sheldon’s philanthropic philosophy is based on some key principles:
-         “Let’s do the impossible on a shoestring budget – take an elastic band and run all around the town and back.”
-         Lead to attract and inspire people to do more, to be generous beyond their imagination.
-         Remember that there are still tremendous opportunities to promote BGU in Canada.
-         Aspire to be the architect of success; work behind the scenes to encourage others.

Sheldon’s energy and enthusiasm are remarkable. Participating in the annual BGU Board of Governors meeting has been a wellspring of inspiration for him. Meeting the students and faculty members as well as many long-time supporters has renewed his commitment to doing his very best – and that is a lot! – for Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

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