Leading The Way
Donor and board member Susan Hirsch Wohl advances her parents’ philanthropic passion.
Susan Hirsch Wohl discovered the meaning of charitable giving at a very young age.
This self-described “Valley Girl” remembers her parents’ emphasis on community service and giving back throughout her life. “I saw in my parents how good it felt, and what wonderful friendships they formed through their work in charity, and I wanted to accomplish the same in my life.” Susan’s first donation of $10 from her small weekly allowance was made to honor one of her teachers by planting a tree in Israel. This gave her such a great feeling that made up for inadequacies she felt in other areas of her life.
Susan’s mother, Nita Taube Hirsch, was a Holocaust survivor from Poland. Adopted by her aunt and uncle who had her sent to the United States after the war ended, she felt that her life had been spared so she could honor the memories of her parents by involving herself in community service. Susan’s father, Bob Hirsch, came from a religious family in Chicago and met Nita in college at Cal State LA. They were married in 1953 and together created a life of family togetherness and giving back to those less fortunate. They served in leadership capacities in various organizations: Nita with Women’s American ORT for 50+ years, and Bob serving on a variety of nonprofit boards from the L.A. Jewish Home, their synagogue and the Alzheimer’s Chapter, LA.
The Hirsches’ love of philanthropy inspired them to create the Bob and Nita Hirsch Family Foundation. “Over the years, I’ve become the managing director of the foundation — which is the greatest gift my parents have ever given me. The idea that we can make an impact and a difference in an organization, group or individual is extremely gratifying. To me, there’s nothing more powerful than being able to donate to a cause or need,” says Susan. “It makes you feel so good, and in today’s world, there aren’t too many things that can give you that sense of purpose in your life.”
Susan found herself drawn to support Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center after her father experienced a terrible fall and had an extended wait in the ER. He was lucky enough to encounter his cardiologist, Dr. Jeff Work, who got the ball rolling for him, and mentioned to Susan that she should look into the ongoing campaign to benefit the Emergency Services Department. Then she had a nice chat with her dear friend Lynne G. Zuckerman, who also recommended getting involved in the campaign. Lynne referred Susan to Adam Pilder, the Foundation’s senior philanthropy officer, who was instrumental in establishing a relationship between Susan and the Foundation Board.
“For me, it’s all about relationships that I’m fortunate to form with an organization or individual,” Susan says. Thanks to Adam, Susan joined the Board and has enthusiastically engaged in fundraising and marketing for the hospital and feels that the entire San Fernando Valley, and beyond, should be supporting the Providence Tarzana Foundation. “Sooner or later, we all will need the hospital, whether it’s for ourselves or one of our close relatives or friends.” Susan said.
“When you surround yourself with like-minded people, it’s a more congenial fit and everyone benefits. We work for the common goal of supporting the hospital and its tremendous and brilliant doctors, nurses and staff,” Susan shares. “The Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center will be a place of great service, saving lives, saving time, providing comfort and peace of mind. Come join me!”
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