Before she helped come up with a way to grant micro-loans to Ossining residents, Dana Levenberg was logging volunteer hours in education. And she wrapped a lot of presents too.
When I couldnt make the first PTA meeting of the summer, I panicked and called the president, who asked me, Would you like to chair the gift wrap committee? she remembered.
Levenberg was later promoted to the year-round gig of president of the Parent Teacher Association, eventually becoming a member of the Ossining School Districts Board of Education. Of her school involvement, her philosophy is simple: put her Ossining neighbors first in all decisions she makes. Even if that means sacrificing the best hill for sledding to make room for a new turf field.
I got involved in education because I want the best for my kids but also for the community. The kids are the future of the community, she said.
But it was when she heard about a resident who walked into a local recreation center hoping to borrow $75 for a bus pass that Levenbergs philanthropic responsibility was realized. She helped create the Ossining Micro Fund, a non-profit organization providing interest-free loans to individuals and families needing assistance with financial obstacles, such as homes, cars, maintenance or legal fees. Levenberg said the concept is all about paying it forward.
I think of Ossining as a community of diverse people coming together with different needs and I love the idea of bringing microfinance on a local level, she added.
The Ossining Micro Fund is supported by local organizations like the Ossining Rotary Club, Family Ties and Open Door Medical Center.
At the end of the day though, Levenbergs involvement stems from the same reason: she loves her town.
I want to see us thrive. Thats why I volunteer in education and support all the wonderful things that are happening here, she said before rushing off to a nearby Veterans Day parade.
Levenberg has lived in town for the past 15 years with her husband Stephen, 16-year old son Caleb and 13-year old son Eli.
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