Federation Donor Spotlight: Aimee & Steve Bernstein

As a family, we say yes to Federation because they’re the ones who know who, when, and where is in need and they can distribute funds before we might even know to do so. We always come back to Federation because of the diversity of funds and allocations that they can give to people in need.

I grew up in this area and have been around the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City my entire life, but I didn’t know all the ways Federation impacts the community until I became involved as an adult. It’s enlightening to know that saying yes means helping programs and agencies I didn’t even know existed. As a current member of the Women’s Philanthropy Board, and with my husband Steve’s involvement with the Allocations Committee, it has been eye-opening to learn about all the ways Federation umbrella touches so many lives. 

We give to Federation because it helps organizations and agencies that support our community, like Jewish Family Services (JFS). Every year we go to the JFS luncheon and they have people share their stories of how they were struggling financially and in the most impossible circumstances, and how JFS was there to help these people in their lowest of lows. Those stories are so inspiring because we know JFS is behind all those families, young and old, for people who are food insecure or those who have mental illness. Every year we hear more stories of people in need, and every year we see our money being used in amazing ways

We are also a multi-generational summer camp family. I grew up going to summer camp and all of our kids go to summer camp. In my opinion, it really defines a young person’s Jewish identity at an early age and helps continue that identity through their lifetime. Without overnight camp grants and financial assistance scholarships from the Guardian Society, many children wouldn’t be able to have that experience. We should know, because all four of our kids were recipients of the Guardian Society’s First-Time Camper Grant.

When I was growing up, my grandmother donated to everybody who asked. Steve tells me that his grandmother did the same. It’s not hard to say yes. A lot of people think that you need to give hundreds or thousands to make a difference, but no amount is too small. There’s nothing better we can do as Jewish people than to give back, even if we only have a few dollars. When we put our dollars together, the sum can be outstanding.