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'A True Leader'
Dr. Leora Bar-Levav,
JNF Board President, Michigan
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September 5 • 2013
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Having benefited from the men-
torship of individuals like Max
Fisher and leaders of his gen-
eration, Applebaum has devoted
much of his energy to guiding
others. Beyond his philanthropy,
his impact is felt through the
countless community leaders and
supporters he has mentored per-
"Dan Gilbert was my paperboy,"
he said. "I took him to his first
Federation Fisher [philanthropy]
Former Federation CEO Robert
Aronson considers Applebaum
a great mentor as well as a close
personal friend. He credits
Applebaum for guiding and sup-
porting him throughout much of
"I believe he is a true leader,"
Aronson said. "On a daily basis,
he has to overcome great obsta-
cles, and yet he draws people to
him. It's because of his person-
ality, his integrity as a person,
his values and even his sense of
humor — for that reason, he is
my definition of what a leader is."
Nancy Grosfeld, a former
Federation president and close
friend of the Applebaums, reflects
on his tremendous impact on the
work of Federation.
"Gene not only is a philan-
thropist," she said, "but he has
also given important advice and
counsel to the leadership of the
Federation over the years. We
often turn to Gene to get his opin-
ion on specific community issues.
He serves as an example for our
next generation on how to bring
together all the different elements
of our community:'
It is clear that Applebaum is
motivated not by awards like the
Butzel, but by a deep desire to
help others and serve the commu-
nity Nevertheless, he is happy for
the example that is set.
"This is an important moment
for my family, for my wife and
daughters, but especially for my
grandkids, in helping them iden-
tify the values that are important,"
Marcia Applebaum agrees.
Speaking for the entire family, she
said, "We are all so proud of Gene
and so thrilled that the commu-
nity is recognizing him for all the
good he's done:'
Ted Cohen, marketing director, Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan Detroit,
contributed to this report.