Amy Pollokoff, 55, vice president at the Fedder Corporation, grew up in Pikesville and was exposed to philanthropy from a young age, thanks to her parents, Ellen and Joel Fedder. They both constantly attended meetings because of their involvement in what is today known as The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. Her father was also extremely active in the American Heart Association.
What was your first hands-on philanthropic endeavor?
I did a lot of volunteer work with USY, and I ended up becoming president of USY of the Eastern Seaboard region, We did a lot of activities; many were volunteer opportunities like packaging food for elderly Jewish seniors at the JCC and for Meals on Wheels.
How did your volunteer involvement continue?
After college and marriage (to Bob Pollokoff) I joined [The Associated’s two-year training in] Young Women’s Leadership and ended up being president of that too. That was really my entrée into working with The Associated.
Describe your involvement with The Associated.
In the mid-’90s, I became involved in the Girls Project with the Jewish Big Brother Big Sister League. It was a wonderful project that worked with teen girls in the community who needed support. And because I had two girls, that was very important to me, and I ended up becoming president of that as well.
Each year I chair a program or event and four years ago I led a Heart-to-Heart Mission to Israel. I thought it was very important to expose people to Israel who had never been before. Israel is something I’m very passionate about as well. Then I became very involved in GEM, the Girls Empowerment Mission, an organization that Debbi Weinberg started. I was on the board for 10 years and a mentor for teen girls for five years. I just got off-board in spring 2015, but I’m still a mentor. I also did [The Associated] health care event with Patti Attman, and this year, I’m chair of a Dor L’Dor event over Purim; we’ll bake hamantaschen and bring in mothers and daughters of all ages.
Does Judaism play a part in your philanthropy?
I think it’s all about my Jewishness because the meaning of tzedakah is giving back, and I think it’s very important. I think whenever you give back and see something change people’s lives, it betters your life, and I think it’s our obligation as Jews to give back.