Giving In Your Backyard: Spotlight on Mordecai Walfish
At Brooklyn Community Foundation we are committed to partnering with our donors to help them reach their charitable giving goals and to build connections to the incredible work of our grantee partners across the borough.
We recently spoke with Mordecai (Mordy) Walfish, Chief Operating Officer at Leading Edge, about his commitment to supporting local, community-led work in the borough, and how his connection with Brooklyn Community Foundation has impacted his giving and community engagement.
What do you love about Brooklyn?I love how each block is so different, yet totally Brooklyn. Each street contains so much life and so many worlds—people and their hopes, dreams, sorrows, loves and yummy foods. I love the feeling of community in Brooklyn—how people really look out for each other and how it’s possible to connect with people around even the most obscure interests. And I love the parks—especially Prospect Park—and how on any given day, thousands of unique experiences are happening in one big space.
What does it mean to you to be part of the Foundation's community?
Brooklyn Community Foundation has been a really important avenue for my philanthropy, community engagement and personal education. I’ve learned about the inspiring work of hundreds of grassroots nonprofits that the Foundation supports throughout the borough and I’ve really deepened my knowledge around racial justice, in particular by access to experts like Heather McGhee and Anurag (Anu) Gupta. I first participated in a training with Anu through the Foundation in 2016 and have worked with him in numerous ways since.
Why do you support Brooklyn Community Foundation?
I was looking for multiple ways to be involved in the community on a local level and from a philanthropic perspective, I fell in love with the work of the Foundation. I just love the model of Brooklyn Community Foundation and I trust it to put my resources to the best, most effective use. I appreciate the clear-eyed focus on equity through a racial justice lens and I’m grateful for how quickly it acts—whether that’s responding to the pandemic or speaking out against violence, injustice, and extremism. I’ve learned so much by being involved with the Foundation, and I appreciate its focus on Black, Indigenous, and people of color-led organizations and emphasis on supporting grassroots efforts led by the community.
Is your giving focused on a particular issue area?
I tend to give broadly because I trust the Foundation to allocate funds where it sees the greatest needs, but I feel particularly passionate about the Immigrant Rights Fund portfolio. I deeply believe that immigrants strengthen the fabric of our community.
What’s Brooklyn to you in one word? Life.