Taking Family Philanthropy To New Heights
Valerie and Peter Weitzner help their daughters express philanthropic priorities on their own terms.
A native of Long Island, New York, Valerie Weitzner grew up in a community with a strong Jewish presence and two hardworking parents. She noticed that her parents always made small philanthropic donations to charities that had personal meaning to them. This was the spark that ignited a lifelong path of philanthropy for Valerie — a value that she’s now passing on to her own children. Valerie and her husband Peter, whose mother was a Holocaust survivor, established the habit of giving early in their marriage and were committed to developing a strong Jewish identity for their children.
After moving to Atlanta, they became members of Temple Sinai. Eventually, both daughters, Gillian, now a high school senior, and Zoe, a college sophomore, attended religious school at Congregation Or Hadash. Valerie expressed that it was “very important to give our girls the Jewish education we never had access to growing up.” The family-centered approach to Jewish education at Congregation Or Hadash inspired Valerie to become a Bat Mitzvah along with her youngest daughter Gillian.
“We have an amazing community in Atlanta. I’ve made friends with so many smart, warm and generous women and families in the community here,” Valerie said. Those connections have led to mission trips abroad, board involvement, and philanthropic opportunities for their entire family.
Over the years, the Weitzners have used their Donor-Advised Fund to make charitable donations to a far-reaching list of organizations, including AIPAC, Atlanta Scholars Kollel, Alzheimer’s Association, Birthright, Congregation Or Hadash, Friends of the IDF, Jewish Educational Loan Fund (JELF), Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Planned Parenthood, Temple Sinai, the Zaban Couples Center, and many others. And they’ve kept their girls in the loop every step of the way.