By Jill Cousins
During 50 years in the Orlando area, Dick Appelbaum has been a successful businessman, has raised three lovely daughters with wife Dottie, and has been actively involved as a leader in Central Florida's Jewish community.
But when the Appelbaums, now retired, were looking for a way to manage their money to best serve the interests of their favorite charities, Dick gladly deferred to the fund management expertise and the charitable giving opportunities offered by the TOP Jewish Foundation.
"I'm a marketing guy," said Dick, who lives in Maitland with Dottie and their dog Gigi. "I'm by no means an expert when it comes to stocks, bonds, and investments. We established a fund with TOP, because these guys know what they're doing, and they do a much better job managing the monies in the fund than I could expect to do on my own, and besides, by setting up the TOP fund, it gave us a great tax advantage. They constantly astound me with their knowledge and capabilities. We're delighted with TOP!"
TOP Orlando Chair and trustee Debby Gendzier said donors like the Appelbaums have created a win-win situation by establishing their own TOP fund. "Dick and Dottie have been long-time supporters of the Jewish community in Central Florida and in Israel," she said. "Their fund at TOP is set up so as to help facilitate continued support for the Orlando Jewish community. It also provides the Appelbaums with opportunities to recommend donations to other outside charitable organizations that they may wish to support from time to time."
Through TOP, the Appelbaums have been able to effectuate donations to specific charities such as Jewish Family Services, Kinneret Council on Aging, the Jewish Community Center, the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida, Congregation Ohev Shalom, the Jewish Federation and the Marvin Friedman Scholarship Fund. The Appelbaums like the fact that they can make advance contributions to their TOP fund from time to time, while deferring to a later date the identification of those organizations and the gift amounts they would like to recommend. Besides, they like the fact that TOP tends to make the record keeping so easy.
"There are so many people who need so much," Dottie said. "We have been very fortunate with our businesses, and we want other people to have a decent life. We don't need it all."
The Appelbaums have been actively involved in Orlando's Jewish community since the 1970s, when Dick joined the board of the local JCC. By 1980, he was elected president (until 1982), and he served another term in 1998-2000. He also served as Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando from 2005-08, and has served on many other agency boards.
Dottie was vice president of youth at the JCC during Dick's first term as JCC president, and later served on the review committee for camp scholarships.
One thing they both like to do is spend time with their six grandchildren (each daughter has two children). Oldest daughter Alison Polejes, former president of Kinneret, is "a chip off the father's block," Dottie said. "She is extremely involved in the Jewish community." They are equally proud of their twins, Jill Small of Cape Cod and Julie Morse of Gainesville.
When they aren't spending time with their grandchildren, the Appelbaums enjoy spending time at their beachfront condo and are active members of Congregation Ohev Shalom. They are also lifetime members of the JCC, and Dick was involved in the building of the JCC's South Campus. At the JCC's main campus in Maitland, the infant/toddler wing is named in Dick and Dottie Appelbaum's honor. Dick is also still involved with the President's Group at the JCC.
"It's nice to feel comfortable in your community," Dick said, "and it feels so good when you are able to give something back. It feels even better when you know that the way you are giving back is through an organization like TOP which offers varying opportunities for giving that are well managed and tax favored, while also offering in many cases the potential for perpetual legacies."
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