Pledger Spotlight: Joe Goldblatt


What does Jewish identity mean to you?

Once, a reporter asked my father, a first-generation Jewish American, “Do you see yourself as an American, a Texan, or something else?” He responded, “I see myself as a Jew. Judaism is a universal type of identity; wherever I travel, whatever country I claim as my home, I am first a Jew.”

That’s how I feel. Even if there isn’t a Jewish community physically nearby, the shared Jewish history, the shared experience, and the Jewish rituals allow me to be a proud Jew no matter where I go.

Why is it important to support Jewish institutions?

Jewish institutions are essential in sustaining our community. Without them, I fear what the world would become. In a world without Jewish care, who would look after the elderly? Who would look after the infirm? In a world without Jewish education, who would teach children Jewish values? In a world without civic responsibility, who would teach about Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East?

If we don’t inform, inspire, and instruct the next generation to become philanthropists, we run the risk of unraveling and losing all the systems the institutions that our forefathers and mothers created for us.

How did you teach your children about philanthropy?

By example. That’s how I learned about philanthropy growing up. My parents were the founders of Dallas College, a community college that has now grown to include seven campuses. They did the right thing and knew I would notice. I take one step further with my children, though – I also discuss my choices, especially at holiday times. I tell them why I’ve chosen to support certain organizations.

I find that they respond best to brief, bright, and brilliant concepts – ones that are easy to explain, capture the imagination, and appeal to our hope and optimism for the future.

Joe Goldblatt is Emeritus Professor of Planned Events at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was the founding president of the International Special Events Society and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Shanghai, China Jewish Refugee Museum, the treasurer of the Edinburgh Interfaith Association, and chair of the Beacons of Hope Fundraising Committee of the Edinburgh Jewish Cultural Centre. He lives in Scotland with his wife, Nancy and is a proud father and grandfather.