Marilyn Eckstein likes to say that the words of poet, scholar and Christian clergyman John Donne have inspired her approach to philanthropy. In his famous poem No Man is an Island, Donne wrote:
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind.
Driven by her “No man is an island” values, Marilyn uses her donor-advised fund and partnership with Atlanta Jewish Foundation, among other giving tools, to support philanthropies that make lives better in Atlanta. “I think of these words as the underpinning of my philanthropic giving,” Marilyn explains. “As I give of myself, I hope that a little bit of me will be a part of the organizations and projects that I give to. They reflect my core commitment to something bigger than myself.”
Growing up in Atlanta, Marilyn had numerous philanthropic role models and inputs. “When I was a little girl my grandmother had what we always called “the little blue box,” collecting coins for JNF, the Jewish National Fund. The money was to help grow and establish the state of Israel. That’s what started me as a child. As a teenager, I was in a high school sorority called DOZ, Daughters of Zion. Once a year we held a party for a charity at the grand ballroom of the Georgian Terrace Hotel. It was very successful and a lot of fun. The sorority raised money and then decided how to distribute it to various Atlanta charities.”
And then there were Marilyn’s parents. “My father Paul Ginsberg and my mother Jean Cuba Ginsberg were as philanthropical as they could be. My father was a lawyer who served in WWII. My parents gave to the old Jewish Home. My uncle, Max Cuba, was president of just about every Jewish organization in Atlanta. He supported all the major Jewish organizations we have today. From all these people I learned about giving.”
Marilyn was deeply appreciative of the care her late husband received through Jewish HomeLife’s homecare services. She wanted to support Jewish HomeLife and worked with Stephanie Wyatt, Chief Development Officer at Jewish HomeLife, to develop a meaningful legacy gift. “Marilyn experienced our services firsthand as a client. Together we explored opportunities that would both fulfill our mission and support the level of home care she valued so much.”
Music is another one of her passions. She believes it is an important way of connecting people, and so she has created the Marilyn Ginsburg Eckstein Cultural Arts Fund supporting music and cultural affairs programming at the Ahavath Achim Synagogue.
Through philanthropy, Marilyn Eckstein is deeply involved in mankind and her legacy carries the spirit of giving to others the blessings she has received — music, compassionate care, independence, and togetherness.