Albany Couple Honored with Prestigious Tree of Life Award
ALBANY, N.Y., March 22, 2022 — Community philanthropists Nancie and Ken Segel have been named 2022 recipients of Jewish National Fund-USA’s prestigious Tree of Life™ Award.
Ken Segel, Principal of Latham-based Schuyler Companies and Jewish National Fund-USA’s Vice President, Communities and Regions, shared his excitement about receiving the honor: “This recognition means so much to Nancie and me because it comes from an organization that we care so deeply about. However, this award also acknowledges the impact our friends and family in the Capital Region have had on the land and people of Israel as we continue to maintain a connection to our ancient homeland.”
Previous recipients of the award, which recognizes outstanding community involvement, professional leadership, dedication to the cause of American Israeli friendship, and a devotion to peace and the security of human life, include the late Jane Golub, the late Murray Massry, Susan & Marty Farber, Eitan & Malka Evan, and Paul & Faye Silton.
“We give to Jewish National Fund-USA because we want to inspire our children and children’s children to continue our philanthropic work and develop a love of tzedakah (charity),” said Nancie.
JNF-USA President, Dr. Sol Lizerbram; Nancie Segel; Ken Segel; and JNF-USA CEO, Russell F. Robinson
A long-time leader in the Jewish community, Ken is the past President, General Campaign Chair, and Chairman of The Community Endowment Fund for the United Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York. He was a member of the Israel Bonds Cabinet for upstate New York, has served as President of the Bet Shraga Hebrew Academy, and was a board member of Daughters of Sarah Jewish Foundation.
His deep bond to the Jewish homeland began with a year abroad at Tel Aviv University. After returning to the U.S., and marrying Nancie, the couple committed to making Israel a better place for its citizens. “My wife and I went there on our honeymoon, and I’ve probably gone back more than 50 times,” said Ken. “Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, I’m always trying to strengthen that commitment and that connection.”
Today, Ken and Nancie uphold that commitment in multiple ways as members of JNF-USA’s World Chairman’s Council and King Solomon Society. In addition, Ken is a member of JNF-USA’s Capital District and Miami Boards of Directors, President Emeritus of the Capital District Board, past National Vice President, Campaign, and former National Chairman of Major Gifts. He is also the co-chair of the campaign for the “biggest project ever in the history of the Jewish world” — JNF-USA’s World Zionist Village. The 20-acre, $350 million complex to be built in Be’er Sheva which will change the narrative about Zionism, education, and innovation.
As the Principal of Schuyler Companies, a commercial real estate business, Ken is no stranger to constructing something new. “I love the idea of being part of building something that is going to be around for generations, that will preserve and promote a love of Zion,” he said. “Nancie’s parents were Holocaust survivors, so our whole lives have been dedicated to passing on strong Jewish identity, pride, and Zionism. With the village, we can be part of doing that on a global scale.”
Sara Hefez, JNF-USA’s Executive Director of New England and the Capital District said, “Nancie and Ken are always there when we need them, with their time, passion, and dedication. Ken’s role as co-chair of the campaign for the World Zionist Village epitomizes their goal to ensure a legacy for future generations. It has been my honor and pleasure to work by his side for more than a decade.”
JNF-USA Capital Region President Emeritus and National Lawyer for Israel Chair, Robert Ganz added: “Ken started the resurgence in the Capital Region and founded the board of directors. He understood what the area needed in order for JNF-USA to flourish, working to quietly mentor leaders, first as board members, and then to fill his shoes as Board Presidents. Even as he accomplished that goal and the organization became stronger in the Capital Region, he was always present and available to plan events, get his hands dirty, and help with the most important solicitations.”
JNF-USA will be honoring the Segels at a virtual Tree of Life™ reception on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at 7:00 pm ET. The event will feature keynote speaker, Matti Friedman — a renowned journalist, award-winning author, and leading expert on Israel’s modern history.
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About Jewish National Fund-USA
JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure and programs that support ecology, individuals with special needs, and heritage site preservation.