A Legacy of Kindness - Karen and Peter Leipsic Top Up and Rename Important Fund

by Stu Slayen | Aug 25, 2017
Karen and Peter Leipsic come by their generosity honestly.

Peter learned two valuable lessons from his late father, Barry: one – help someone when you can afford to; two – help someone even when you can’t afford to.

Karen's parents – Coleman and Rose Silverman – emulated the same values running a general store in Dysart,  Saskatchewan, providing credit to families in need, and always opening their door to travellers 

During the war, all the rationed food could have been sold for three or four times higher, but Coleman’s comment was: “These are my neighbours! What would I say to G-d?”

“Even in lean times, he would lend a hand,” says Leipsic of his own father, a partner in Aronovitch and Leipsic, a major real estate and insurance firm. “He took the time to learn about his clients. I recall one client ¬– a woman who walked the streets to support her family. My father lent her money and helped her get out of the trade so her kids could have a more normal life. That’s one example of many.”

Peter Leipsic inherited that sense of compassion. “I worked with my father and observed him for many years,” says Leipsic. “I like to think that his spirit of generosity rubbed off. My parents and Karen’s taught us to try to make the world a better place.”

The Leipsics are widely respected for their philanthropic efforts and volunteerism. In 2016, they topped up and repurposed a JFM fund, now known as the Karen and Peter Leipsic Fund in Support of Women & Children who are Victims of Domestic Violence.

“Through Jewish Child and Family Service, the income earned by this fund will help abused women and their kids get their lives together after they leave a shelter,” says Leipsic. “It’s an endowed fund that will have a permanent impact.”

The Leipsics’ children have also embraced the message of compassion. Daughter Sarah lives in Costa Rica where she is devoting her life to volunteerism. Son Jonathon is a physician and philanthropist in Vancouver. In a classic example of “it’s a small world”, Jonathon once met with a donor to the Vancouver Talmud Torah and learned that he had been one of many guests welcomed by the Silvermans in Dysart. Generosity can indeed make a big world feel much smaller.

Karen and Peter Leipsic hope that their children will continue to share the message of generosity. And they hope other members of the Jewish community will step forward, too.

“There many causes that need support here,” says Leipsic. “We’ve been blessed in Winnipeg. Our community is generous, but I think we can do even better. I’d like to see us all consume less and contribute more so we can change more people’s lives.”