JNF Wire: Man on a Mission - Meet Myron D. Stayman
November 20, 2015
Adam H. Brill, Director of Communications
Man on a Mission: Meet Myron D. Stayman
By: Mayann Jaffe
Myron D. Stayman is many things. He is a husband, father and grandfather. He is a top wealth management professional with Merrill Lynch. He is also a Jewish communal lay leader with involvement in the Dade and Broward County Jewish federations, his synagogue, and Jewish National Fund (JNF).
But mostly, he is a man on a mission.
"Who am I? I am a Jew. The Jewish people will survive without me. But maybe they will survive better if I am a part of them. That is who I am. That is tikkun olam," says Stayman, during a recent interview in a Jerusalem coffee shop.
Passionate and poignant, Stayman recalls the first time he witnessed JNF's work. It was on a solidarity mission to Southern Israel during the 2008-2009 Gaza war, also known as Operation Cast Lead. He says he saw then–and continues to believe–that the work JNF does in Israel is "important, vital and necessary."
"We are supporters of Aleh Negev-Nachalat Eran, which serves the underserved. We fund the Special in Uniform program, which allows individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to take part in the military like their peers. They prepare gas mask kits or work at military stores, printing shops, kitchens and many other jobs," said Stayman, barely catching his breath. "There's Neveh Michael Children's Village, which provides refuge and a loving home for more than 300 children and youth at risk. In Beit She'an we are building a youth center. Over the past three decades JNF has helped build over 250 reservoirs, which has raised the amount of recycled water in Israel from 4% to over 85% today."
He continued: "These programs are the future of the Jewish state.
"Stayman was not always a Zionist individual. As a young boy in a traditional Jewish household, he attended regular Hebrew school and planted trees in Israel. His family always had a JNF Blue Box around, but he says he had little understanding of its significance. After losing his father and undergoing a period of soul searching when he had his own children, Stayman says he realized how necessary the Jewish state of Israel is to the success, sustainability, and safety of the Jewish people in the diaspora.
"Israel is a rock. The way I see it, there are two choices: I can do all I can to help the people and State of Israel while I am in America or I can tell my wife, 'Pack up, we're leaving!" said Stayman.
Now, as vice president, Israel Relations, and a Negev Society and Century Council member, Stayman is on a new mission – a mega, billion dollar mission.
Stayman is chairing JNF's next Mega Mission, which is scheduled for Spring 2016, and he and his team of lay leaders have changed the name to the Billion Dollar Roadmap mission. The goal: to raise $1 billion in 10 years, using the top-gifts mission as a launching pad.
"It's ambitious, but you have to dream big," said Stayman of the plan. JNF has already raised 20% of the funds, or $325 million.
Stayman said he encourages Jewish and non-Jewish clients and friends to consider donating to JNF. “Many donors,” he said, “prefer to have a say in where their money goes and enjoy the social aspects of involvement with philanthropic organizations. JNF provides both a hands-on experience and meaningful social engagement opportunities,” said Stayman."I love it."
"Each person has to take a personal inventory," recommends Stayman. "Decide, who am I? What do I want to do? What am I doing here? If you are successful in life, why not share that success?" Stayman asked. "Besides, I am never too sure who gets the greatest benefit from my involvement with JNF – the organization or me."
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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.
JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.
JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.
For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit www.jnf.org.