Around The Town: Multicultural Alliance

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Three members of the Fort Worth Jewish community were honored April 19 when the Multicultural Alliance held its 65th annual awards dinner.
Marvin Blum, Arnold Gachman and Marcia Pozez Kurtz were feted for their supp

ort of MCA, formerly known in our area as the National Conference of Christians and Jews. The group formally changed its name in 2007.
“We wanted to acknowledge those within the Jewish community who have held steadfast in support and participation and who also provided leadership in our transition from the National Conference of Christian and Jews to the Multicultural Alliance, Cheryl Kimberling, MCA president, told the TJP.
Before the dinner, Kristin Vandergriff, chief of staff in U.S. Representative Kay Granger’s office, presented a letter of congratulations from the congresswoman’s office to the three honorees before the dinner.
Some highlights from the honorees’ vitae were described in the event program:

Marvin E. Blum, honoree

Marvin Blum makes significant contributions to his community in so many ways and the Multicultural Alliance is but one of the many boards where he devotes time and effort.
The group is honored that he has such a longstanding relationship with the Multicultural Alliance where he has served in numerous leadership roles and attended Camp CommUNITY as an adult adviser.
A native Fort Worthian and Paschal High School graduate, Marvin earned his BBA with highest honors in accounting from the University of Texas, where he graduated first in his class. Additionally, he received his law degree with high honors from the University of Texas School of Law, where he graduated second in his class and was named the Prentice-Hall Outstanding Student in Taxation.
Marvin, founder of The Blum Firm, P.C., is known for creating customized, cutting-edge estate plans. New York’s Worth magazine named Marvin to its prestigious list of “Nation’s Top 100 Attorneys.”
He was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America. He has been a key leader in the nonprofit and arts communities and has inspired others to serve by demonstrating a culture of community engagement.
The group will celebrate the wonderful contributions of Marvin and thank him for his dedication and valuable leadership to the Multicultural Alliance today and through a very critical, tumultuous, and pivotal phase.
Marvin and Laurie and their family embody the spirit of the Multicultural Alliance and diligently work to build inclusive communities.

Arnold Gachman, honoree

The contribution of active and civic-minded people is priceless and there is no better example of a life lived in community engagement than Arnie Gachman. His sense of involvement and service in our community is apparent by a desire to positively impact and benefit others more remote than his family and friends.
In the early 1960s Arnie’s grandfather, Jacob Gachman, a Russian immigrant, suggested he become involved with the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ), the predecessor of the Multicultural Alliance. Having witnessed the growth and the deepening mission and rebranding of the organization, Arnie has been involved with the Multicultural Alliance in multiple capacities for almost 50 years, serving as presiding chair and an interfaith dialogue co-facilitator.
Past president of Gamtex Industries, a 105-year-old family-owned Fort Worth company, Arnie commits an enormous amount of time and energy to organizations that he holds dear.
Currently, he serves as chair of trustees of Baylor All Saints and Baylor Hospitals, board member of Sammons Transplant Institute at Baylor University Medical Center, Board of Governors of the Fort Worth Club, vice president of Beth-El Congregation and AddRan College of the TCU Board of Visitors. He is immediate past chair of the University of North Texas Health Science Center Foundation and a member of the UNTHSC advisory board. He received the Person of Vision Award from UNTHSC in 2012. He also serves on the Health Benefits Advisory committee.
Arnie and Harriette and their family live and support the mission and respect the principles that are promoted by the Multicultural Alliance.

Marcia Pozez Kurtz, Lifetime Achievement Award

Born in Topeka, Kansas, Marcia is the third of four siblings. Her household nearly doubled in 1939 when her father obtained immigration visas for two cousins and two aunts from the country known today as Belarus. Marcia’s full household in Kansas and the Holocaust deepened her empathy and concern for others.
Marcia moved to Fort Worth in 1959 with her late husband, Larry Kornbleet, to work in the family shoe business. New to Fort Worth and anxious to meet people, she immediately became involved with NCCJ. She participated in the interfaith dialogue sessions, and later served as a co-facilitator. In 1991 she married Stan Kurtz and quickly involved him in the organization and program opportunities.
The talents and community contributions of Marcia Pozez Kurtz are wide and varied. She is a fundraiser, gourmet chef, organizer and philanthropist. Her family foundation, the Gates of Chai, has sponsored lecture series and visiting scholars at both TCU and Brite Divinity School. For many years, the Gates of Chai foundation has made it possible for multiple voices to participate in the Multicultural Alliance Seminarian Interfaith Retreat.
Individually, and as president of Gates of Chai, Marcia has supported a wide variety of organizations over the years, including:
Anti-Defamation League, Fisher House-Veterans Affairs, Jewel Charity, Cook Children’s Hospital, Baylor All Saints Health Foundation, My Possibilities, Hadassah, Guardianship Services, Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Safe Haven, and Beth-El Congregation. Additionally, she and her family funded the Kornbleet Memorial Chapel at the Congregation Ahavath Sholom cemetery.
Marcia’s care and concern are legendary. All who know her are in agreement that she quietly lives the mission of the Multicultural Alliance.
Dinner chairs for the event were Jonathan Suder and Joan Trew.
In addition to Dr. Cheryl Kimberling, MCA staff includes Adena Cytron-Walker, vice president of programs.
The MCA is dedicated to building inclusive communities and minimizing prejudice and discrimination. Staff and volunteers craft workshops and presentations customized to specific goals and needs of any organization. Among the other MCA programs are:
People’s Art Collaborative featuring Ayesha Ganguly — People’s Art Collaborative Speaker: A dynamic three-hour workshop that encourages awareness, reflection, and dialogue about critical issues through art creation. Topics include: Human Trafficking, Diversity & Identity, Refugee Crisis and Body Image.
MCA Table Talk featuring Glenda Thompson — MCA Table Talk Speaker: Strangers or friends gather around a table for a shared meal and a moderated conversation of personal storytelling. It’s an opportunity to meet new people and create friendships or deepen existing relationships. The time together offers hospitality and friendship.
Interfaith Dialogue: Connecting communities of faith and spirituality, individuals participate in sessions that will enrich their own faith tradition, all the while learning about the traditions, experiences, and practices of the religions of others.
Seminarian Interfaith Retreat — Sharing Our Faith Traditions: The four-day interfaith retreat is designed for seminary students who attend religious graduate institutions. The goal is to help prepare outstanding seminarians for their future roles as religious leaders in an interfaith and pluralistic society.
Camp CommUNITY (June 27-July 1): Formerly known as Anytown Texas, this leadership camp has been pivotal in changing lives of high school students since 1982. Delegates acquire knowledge, confidence, and techniques to become civic-minded and responsive leaders by creating a more understanding and inclusive environment. Spots are still available for 2016.

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