Jewish philanthropists and Jewish fashion moguls don’t often run in the same circles, but a recent parlay of the tribe’s top donors may have changed all that: Sartorial superstar Donna Karan dipped her toes into the pool of Jewish givers last week when she made an unexpected appearance at the 2007 Jewish Funders Network conference in Atlanta.
A prominent philanthropist in her own right, Karan said she came to the two-day gathering to mix with likeminded people. “In essence, it puts you together with a group of people talking the same language,” said Karan, whose charitable giving in Israel has focused on Spirituality for Kids, an international educational organization that teaches ethical living through Kabbalah. So how did the creator of DKNY end up at JFN? “Synchronicity,” she said. At a recent Kabbalah Centre class in New York, Karan struck up a conversation with the stranger sitting next to her.
Her fellow spiritual seeker turned out to be David J. Blumberg, a San Francisco-based venture capitalist, philanthropist and member of the JFN. In May, Karan will travel to Israel to be honored by the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. So when she heard about the Jewish funders gathering, she said, “I thought it was apropos that I go.”