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Women Inspiring Women

Posted on Thursday, November 09, 2017 by Dawn Strauss

Last January, I had the honor of hearing Jeannie Opdyke Smith tell the story of her late mother, Irene Gut Opdyke, who rescued 12 Jews (13 when you include the baby born in captivity) by hiding them in the basement of a Nazi officer's home. When she finished her story, my first thought was, "There are too many people who have not heard this story. I need to change that."

One of my biggest take-aways from my Wexner learning is to think big and to think globally. I wanted to do an event with a big impact. I approached our local Israel Bonds office and proposed that we do a women's lunch featuring Jeannie. And this past Tuesday, we did just that. In the spirit of mothers and daughters, I grabbed my own mother to help me co-chair this event. The event was an overwhelming success. Staci Rubin, also a Dallas 13 alum, served on the hostess committee, along with her mother. Our Mother-Daughter themed lunch brought in more than $223,000 in Israel bonds and produced 33 new women bond buyers from the 70 women in attendance. I am so grateful to my Dallas 13 cohort who inspired me during our years of learning together and whose continued successes challenge and motivate me to think bigger and do more.

Dawn Strauss, an alum of the Wexner Heritage Program (Dallas 13,) is the Fundraising Director at Passion for Children’s, a foundation that does grassroots fundraising for the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. Dawn is also a facilitator at the Anti-Defamation League. She serves on the Executive Committee of the JCRC, is involved in the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and also serves on the Board of Camp Young Judaea Texas. Dawn speaks regularly on behalf of Children’s Medical Center and the Children’s Miracle Network. She is also the founder and captain of Team Shayna, a fundraising team that raises money for the Heart Center at Children’s in Dallas.