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Partners in Philanthropy and Why We Should All “Be Like Mort”

By @ 12/17/12 in Community, Everything, Nonprofit Focus, Our Culture

I had the opportunity to attend Sacramento Business Journal’s “Partners in Philanthropy” recently, where 3fold was honored because of our philanthropic works in the region. Just one of the 72,973,108 reasons I love working at 3fold is because philanthropy is a huge part in what we do. It’s part of our culture. We have time, talent and treasure to give back to this region…and we don’t see it as an option not to infuse that in the community.

As witnessed at the event, many other companies share our passion for investing in this community. 3fold shared the stage with other regional philanthropists such as the Sacramento Association of Realtors, Gilbert Associates, Sacramento Kings, Farmers & Merchants Bank, and Save Mart Supermarkets. Each honoree displayed their unique way of giving back and paying forward.

Which brought us to the moment at the event where the late Mort Friedman was recognized. Many of us who have lived in Sacramento for(ever) a while, know of Mort being the remarkably talented litigator who represented plaintiffs in the Farrell’s disaster in the early 70’s. Others remember him for being a catalyst to bring Nordstrom to Sacramento, and infusing energy into the Arden Fair Mall project.

But what was most noted about Mort, above all of his professional accomplishments, was his spirit of giving back to this region. “We should all aspire to be like Mort,” was a quote overheard at the event. Whether supporting the Crocker or local symphony, or investing in the critical services provided to children and families at UC Davis MIND Institute – he made it a point to give and invest in his community.

Michael Jordan was an international phenomenon during his playing career. I know this seems non-related, but stick with me for a moment… MJ was dynamic, athletic, charming and wildly talented. When his brand launched the “Be Like Mike” campaign – it did something special to all of us who had a front seat watching Jordan’s career. It gave us a sliver of belief that we could, in fact, be like Mike. It made us believe we could dunk, shoot, make gravity-defying layups and win championships. We all aspired, for a moment, to be like Mike.

While MJ was winning championships and making a cannonball-like splash in the NBA, Sacramento had their own version of Mike who was making sizeable philanthropic splashes for the greater good. So then and now, it behooves us as a region to put on the shelf our love for and aspirations to be like #23. Instead, let’s pinky swear that we will focus on being like someone who was a true partner in philanthropy and was immersed in the goal of making this region a better place. Let’s all try to “Be Like Mort.”

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Photo taken from Sacramento Business Journal.