By Rachel Gross
For 75 years, the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association (DHFLA) has provided residents of the Metroplex a hand up, not a hand out. Since that time, it has given thousands of people a reason to smile.
The DHFLA provides interest-free loans and has lent more than $2,000,000 through General Assistance Loans, Student Loans, Home Health Loans, Adoption Loans and its newest Jewish Youth Experience Loan. To obtain loans, the borrowers must be Jewish, live in the Dallas area for at least six months, have an honest need, have cosigners guarantee the loan amount and be approved by the DHFLA loan committee.
The 75th anniversary gala will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 10 at the Westin Park Central, 12720 Merit Drive in Dallas. Tickets are $145 each, or $1,450 for a table of 10. Different levels of sponsorship are also available.
Co-chair Louis Marx, who has been on the board of directors since 2004, said this is the first gala the organization has had since 2007 and about 350 to 500 people are expected to attend. He said he is most looking forward to spreading the word about the needs of the community.
“Free loans help the community grow,” he said. “Someone’s $100 donation assists multiple people and that money keeps working; that’s significant. Dallas has a great Jewish community that’s always been tight-knit. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the community and that shows how much everyone cares.”
The gala will honor community philanthropist Mike Friedman; Houston-based Fred Zeidman, chair of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council in Washington, D.C., will be the keynote speaker. Honorary co-chairs are Bennett Glazer and Herb Weitzman. Brendan Higgins, formerly of NBC Dallas, will be the master of ceremonies.
The international association of Hebrew Free Loan is holding its international conference in conjunction with the gala as well, and delegates from across the world will be attending.
Co-chair Shirley Strauss said the goal is to make people, especially the younger generation, aware of what the DHFLA does and how it plays an integral role in the community.
“It has made an impact because there are so many different types of loans that are offered,” she said. “I am most looking forward to sharing the history of the organization and [to hearing] our speaker Fred Zeidman. It’s going to be a wonderful evening with a kosher dinner.”
Honoree Mike Friedman has been involved in many facets of the Dallas Jewish community with Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and The Legacy Senior Communities. He also serves on the board of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the Cancer Foundation for Life.
Friedman has been involved with the DHFLA for about five years and said he is motivated by the work it does. He hopes people will realize the impact it makes.
“This is one of my greatest honors because the DHFLA is deep in my heart,” he said. “I have seen with my own eyes the good it does, how many have been helped, the smiles it puts on people’s faces and the desperate need we have in this community to help. Being able to grant someone a loan is wonderful. In all of the good and bad economic times, the DHFLA has survived by generous contributions and has never charged one penny of interest — what a wonderful story.”
Donald Gross, DHFLA vice president, echoed Friedman’s sentiments and added that with the tough economic situation, there are even greater needs in the community today.
“The need is what has made us successful and that need continues to grow,” Gross said. “Education loans are our biggest and when we support students, it is something that will last the rest of their lives. Our contributions never go away and people come back to show their support.”
For more information or to make a reservation, call Deborah Dana at 214-696-8008 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.