Impact Stories:

Paying it Forward: Federation Support Leads to Supporting the Federation

A Former Refugee from the Soviet Union Now Can Help Others in Need

Gene Leyzerovich understands want and uncertainty.

In 1991, when Gene and his family emigrated from the Soviet Union, they needed help at every turn. Support from Pittsburgh’s Jewish Federation kept food on the table. Federation-funded Jewish agencies helped Gene and his family find housing and furniture and apply for employment benefits.

Thirty years later, Gene is an employer; he works in data management. The success of his business has not erased the memory of the struggle of his early days in Pittsburgh. Grateful to the community that supported his family, Gene has always made giving to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh a priority.

Last spring, when COVID-19 affected jobs and families, scenarios of need seemed all too familiar to Gene: “I see people struggling everywhere, and all I want to do is help,” he says, “so many people had it worse than me.” Despite the hardships of the pandemic, Gene increased his donation to support those who were experiencing greater difficulty.

The Jewish Federation was able to distribute over $9.6 million in COVID relief funds while simultaneously raising $13.675 million for the 2021 Community Campaign, allowing us to continue to support the day-to-day operations of our Jewish agencies and organizations so that people in need—people with the same struggles today as Gene’s family experienced thirty years ago—can find help from a caring community.

“The Jewish Federation was a lifeline for me,” Gene remembers, “and it continues to be a lifeline for so many. I’m proud to be able to support the Pittsburgh Jewish community. I know firsthand the importance of giving.”

Gene Leyzerovich gives in tough times especially, when help is so needed and giving is hard to do.

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