The Berkowitz and Hanna LLC Team at Russ Berkowitz's house. Photo: Daniel Trust
It’s not everyday that I receive a message that reads like this:
“Daniel, I just wanted you to know that my team and I think that the work you are doing for students in Bridgeport, Connecticut is great. We have authorized our firm’s Charitable Fund and Foundation administrators to grant Daniel Trust Foundation $2,500 for your High School Mentoring Program and $2,000 for your College Scholarship Program.”
As you can imagine, this caught me by surprise and I didn’t think it was real.
Many people don’t know this, but my job as President and CEO at Daniel Trust Foundation is the only job that I have. I have been working full-time at the Foundation since January 2014.
For the past four years and seven months that I have been in my role, I have never had a donor send us a donation at this level without requesting that they meet with us for an interview first or me having to ask for the donation directly from the donor in person, over the phone or via email.
But, there is always a first right?
As soon as I received the message, I googled “Berkowitz and Hanna LLC” and “Across the Globe Children’s Foundation” to make sure the organizations were real and I was like “OMG” this is not fake—Russ Berkowitz, the man that sent me the message, is real.
Two weeks later, we received a check for $4,500.
To be honest with you, when the check arrived, I could not stop crying and smiling. Fundraising is so hard. It’s even 10x harder for someone like me. In the moment, I felt like Russ and his team’s contribution validated everything that I have been doing with Daniel Trust Foundation. For someone to send us a donation at this level without having met us or requesting that we complete some sort of grant application, was a big deal to all of us at the Foundation.
Russ Berkowitz is truly an awesome human being.
This past Friday he hosted a summer gathering for 15 of his employees at his home in Westport, Connecticut and he invited me to share my story and work with them. Thinking about it, Russ did the reverse of what donors usually do. Usually, potential donors ask me to come speak to their teams first and then if they are inspired, they make a donation.
I just want to sincerely thank Russ and his team for giving me the opportunity to share my story and work with them. This investment Berkowitz and Hanna LLC and Across the Globe Children's Foundation has made in Daniel Trust Foundation will make a very big impact in the community and in the lives of the young people who benefit from our programs.
I will now patiently wait for the next big surprise :).