Walking in the Family Shoes

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Left: Robert W. Schiff. Center: Left to right, Jane Schiff, Betty Schiff, Herb Schiff, Suzanne Schiff, Patti Schiff z”l. Right: Dan Fleckner.

Of the 24 men who founded the Columbus Jewish Foundation nearly 60 years ago, several were known throughout the country. Robert W. Schiff was among them.

His Shoe Corporation of America was listed on the American Stock Exchange and never missed a quarterly divi-dend — not even during the Great Depression. Patriarch of a family that is still prominent in the annals of Colum-bus Jewry, the Yeshiva-educated Schiff’s business empire included 550 retail outlets and six manufacturing plants. In 1955 he and his peers turned their attention to planting the seeds that would grow the Columbus Jew-ish Foundation into the Jewish community’s Central Ohio legacy-building headquarters.

His son, Herbert H. Schiff, also was a born leader. He became SCOA’s CEO upon his father’s retire-ment. “When Herbert Schiff spoke, people listened,” Foundation CEO Jackie Jacobs said of Schiff, “People warned me about his bark, but his actions more accurately revealed his true nature.” Schiff was a dominant presence at the Foundation from the 60’s through the late 80’s.

Herbert and wife Betty raised their three daughters in Columbus. Like their grandfather and parents, Jane Schiff, Patti Hershorin z”l, and Suzanne Gallant each established a Columbus Jewish Foundation Founders Fund as a testament to their third-generation hometown roots and philanthropic passions.

Today, fourth generation family member Daniel Fleckner continues the family legacy. Commenting on his recently-established Founders Fund, he stated, “I have watched my grandparents help others my entire life. I can’t imagine not doing whatever I can to make my community a better place. It is an honor to be Jewish and perpetuate my family’s legacy.“

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The United Jewish Fund, Meritorious Service Award for Herbert Schiff, 1957. Click for larger image.

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