Bob Kaufman is a man on a mission—or, more accurately, many missions—from extending the benefits of the legal system to ensuring the equality of women in the military. A distinguished lawyer, gardener extraordinaire, and member of almost countless nonprofit boards and government task forces, his devotion to everything he does is legendary.
We know because Bob served on The New York Community Trust board for 23 years, the last decade as vice chairman. On the many occasions that Bob has been honored, nonprofit executives offer the same kudos for his attention to detail, wise counsel, and passion for their institutions’ causes—with the subtle suggestion from each that it is Bob’s favorite nonprofit, the one he really cares about. And they’re all right. When Bob commits to something, no matter how many somethings there are, you get the full treatment: his intellect, his understanding, and his creativity.
But it is the totality of Bob’s contributions to our City and our country that are truly impressive. Because he cares, he gives—generously—to the improvement of our judicial system, our military, our political process, our health care institutions, and our neighborhoods. And what’s more, he has a great time doing it, energizing and inspiring us all with his enthusiasm and dedication.
When The Trust honored Bob in 2009, he said of his tenure on our board:
“Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected it to be the most rewarding, exciting, gratifying, interesting, fulfilling involvement that it turned out to be, with the most devoted, committed, and fascinating colleagues on the board and the staff.”
The Trust is also proud to claim Bob as a donor. When his wife, Sheila Kelley Kaufman, died in 2009, he created a fund in her name to tackle homelessness. This was in addition to two other donor-advised funds he had established. In 1938, Bob had left Vienna on a Kindertransport; he used his award from the Holocaust Victim Asset litigation to fund one of them. The Trust will also receive part of his estate for an unrestricted fund to help meet the City’s most critical needs.