Marjorie Perlman grew up surrounded by her family’s good works – from visiting the Hebrew Home for the Aged that her father’s parents helped found in the Bronx to being a counselor at the summer camp her mother’s family supported to serve inner-city children. But as a young marketing professional, Marjorie did not, at first, become engaged in the communities where she lived. “When I moved to Birmingham and knew I was going to make it my permanent home, I made a conscious decision to get involved.” That “conscious decision” on Marjorie’s part has meant a great deal to CJFS, where she served as President of the Board of Directors in 2009 and 2010, as well as co-chairing a fund-raising campaign and establishing the agency’s second-largest endowment fund.
On April 2, CJFS will join Marjorie’s partners at Tacala Companies, the nation’s largest Taco Bell franchisee, to honor Marjorie at CJFS’ annual Hands Up Together event. The event, chaired by Joyce and Maury Shevin, will feature the Big Band sound of the Marlowe Shepherd Combo, along with dancing, drinks and hors d’oeuvres. “Because Marjorie is known for her love, laughter, sense of humor, and demand for excellence, we are shaking things up this year,” says Lauren Schwartz, CJFS Executive Director. “We wanted the event to reflect her personality as well as her passion for our work, so we are moving to the Theodore and making the event more social, adding to our tradition of great entertainment and moving stories of the impact of CJFS on those we serve. We cannot wait to celebrate this amazing woman!”
In 2002, Marjorie moved to Birmingham to help Tacala develop an in-house marketing agency. Today, she serves as the company’s Chief Marketing Officer. Marjorie says she hadn’t been in Birmingham for long when she began thinking of it as home – the welcome she received in the city was just that warm. And when she began learning about CJFS, she realized that it, too, was something to which she could fully commit, both as a leader and a major donor. She appreciated that CJFS was focused on the health and well-being of both the Jewish and general communities. “I liked that there were measurable results, and you could see the impact the agency made. And I liked that CJFS was very intentional about not duplicating services. If there was somebody doing something better, we would refer clients to them rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.”
In 2015, when CJFS launched an endowment campaign, Marjorie was a natural to co-chair it with Esther Schuster, the agency’s retired Executive Director. She had already created a fund in the CJFS Endowment at the Birmingham Jewish Foundation, the Marjorie Perlman Nuts & Bolts Fund, to support and sustain CJFS’ strong infrastructure. As part of the campaign she more than doubled the size of the fund, making it the second-largest in the CJFS Endowment. “Raising money for infrastructure is more difficult than raising money for programming or bricks and mortar,” she reflects. For CJFS, with a 15-member clinical team providing services as diverse as transportation, in-home care, professional counseling and care management, a strong infrastructure – with assets such as up-to-date technology – is imperative. “Infrastructure isn’t sexy, but it’s important,” she adds. “It’s all there so the agency can serve its core purpose – providing care and support, and a rich quality of life, for vulnerable older adults.”
Details: CJFS and Tacala Companies invite you to Hands Up Together, 5:30-7:30 pm April 2 at The Theodore, 3211 2nd Avenue South. The venue in Avondale is wheelchair-accessible, and valet parking will be provided. Hands Up Together supports CJFS services for older adults, including transportation, counseling, respite care, resource referral, care management, a food closet, caregiver support and more. For tickets or more information, please visit https://cjfsbham.org/donate-now/ or call 205.879.3438.