Brothers Turn Personal Inheritance into Community Benefit

It is much better to give than to receive. It feels good to give back. Charity begins at home but should not stop there. Think of giving not only as a duty but as a privilege.

These may sound like typical clichés about philanthropy when you come across them online or hear them in passing. Aspirations that sound great but are often unattainable or unfounded. Yet, for the three Goldberg Brothers – Barry, Gene and Mark – who run the Goldberg Family Foundation, they truly walk the walk and talk the talk. 

The brothers, drawing inspiration from a close family friend who established a well-endowed foundation with his family’s savings, approached their terminally ill mother in 2007 with an idea: Take the money she was going to give to her sons through her retirement account and start a family foundation where they could give back to the community in perpetuity.

A year later, their mother passed away and the Goldberg Family Foundation was created with a mission to promote positive change in peoples’ lives and help build and enhance the communities in which they live. The brothers quickly went to work living this creed and awarded grants to a wide range of organizations, including A Broader Way, Anti-Defamation League of Arizona, Children’s Hospital Los Angles, Foundation for Blind Children, JDRF, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Vets Helping Heroes, and others. 

“It’s very enriching to see smiles on kid’s faces and hear great stories about a kid we helped get on the right track or put on the path to prosperity,” Mark says.

Beyond the immediate gratitude of seeing their generosity affect change, their philanthropy has kept them closer as brothers and more engaged as a family, and has led to opportunities in the community for their children.

Their father watched the life-altering change they were making and witnessed the positive influence they were having on their own children, and knew he wanted to be a part of it. He decided to leave his IRA to the foundation as well, and before he passed away in May 2018, he and Mark, both lifelong basketball fans, created the Goldberg Family Foundation Scholarship.

Pursuant to his father’s wishes, the scholarship is awarded annually to a student-athlete who wouldn’t be able to go to college without this type of support. This year, it is going to a young man on the men’s basketball team.

“My father, his whole life, was a big fan of the underdog,” Mark says. “He always wanted the little guy to get a jump and that’s been a big part of our motivation: To help those who would be helpless without this gift.”

A decade into the Goldberg Family Foundation, and the brothers are able to add another clause to their mission statement: channel the legacy of both of their parents.  

For Mark, the only one of the three brothers to attend Arizona State University, giving back to his alma mater is a no-brainer. A proud football season ticketholder, his family’s foundation has afforded him the opportunity to make significant philanthropic contributions to the athletics department, as well learn more about the young men and women who represent his university. He attended the Sun Devil Club’s annual Scholarship Endowment Dinner this past spring, as well as went to a softball game for the first time, and he even checked out a hockey game this winter.

“Giving back to ASU is personal to me being both an alum and a fan. Looking back on my life, some of the biggest decisions you’ll make are between the ages of 18-25,” Mark says. “If you are given a pathway to make the right decisions, it can help shape the rest of your life. A lot of these kids are in the molding stages of their lives.”

Goldberg family supports Sun Devil Athletics, in their backyard and in the community