Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed by Association of Fundraising Professionals during National Philanthropy Day® celebration
November 17, 2017
Miami – Jay I. Kislak received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Miami-Dade Chapter during the organization’s 32nd Annual National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon. The event honors selfless acts of generosity and kindness by those who improve the lives of others in the local community and across the country.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the AFP Miami Chapter Board, and has been awarded only nine times in the organization’s history. An innovative businessman, collector, history enthusiast, and patron of education and ideas, Jay Kislak sets an inspiring example of mindful and meaningful philanthropy.
Tradition of Philanthropy
For more than 100 years, the Kislak name has represented a commitment to excellence in business, education, community service and philanthropy. Julius I. Kislak founded Kislak Realty in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1906. His son Jay I. Kislak graduated from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, served as a Naval Aviator in World War II, and returned to the family business after the war. In the following decades, Jay Kislak worked to build a significant, highly successful national enterprise in real estate services and finance. Soon after moving to South Florida in the early 1950s, Jay Kislak began creating a cultural and historic legacy – unique collections of rare books, maps, manuscripts, paintings, prints and artifacts. Today, two independent foundations, endowed by Jay Kislak and his family, carry out active philanthropic and educational programs.
With his wife, Jean, he established the nonprofit Jay I. Kislak Foundation, which preserves and advances knowledge of past cultures, civilizations and explorations. This operating foundation conserves collections of rare books, art and historic documents, and conducts programs of research and education, with a focus on the early Americas.
The Kislak Family Foundation supports leadership and innovation in the fields of education, arts and humanities, animal welfare and environmental preservation, and provides grant funding to selected nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education.
In 2004, the Jay I. Kislak Foundation donated more than 4,000 items from the collection to the Library of Congress as an extraordinary gift to the American people. The Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress is now the centerpiece of a magnificent permanent exhibition, Exploring the Early Americas, which has been visited by an estimated audience of more than 3 million.
A landmark gift from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation to the University of Miami and Miami Dade College was announced in January 2017 and includes more than 2,300 rare books, maps, manuscripts, pre-Columbian artifacts and other historic materials. The internationally significant collection will now have two permanent homes in South Florida – Kislak Centers at UM’s Otto G. Richter Library, in Coral Gables, and at MDC’s Freedom Tower, in downtown Miami. The Kislak-MDC-UM partnership will encompass exhibitions, research, education and public outreach focusing on Florida, early American history, the cultures of the Caribbean and Latin America, global exploration and cultural exchange, and collaborations with the Library of Congress and the University of Pennsylvania.
The Kislak Family Foundation has also made significant gifts to the University of Pennsylvania, where the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts was dedicated in 2013; Monmouth University, where the Kislak Real Estate Institute was dedicated in 2006; and to innovative programs and events at Florida State University Real Estate Center, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, and other institutions.
Over the years Jay Kislak has held leadership roles in a long list of local, state and national organizations, including the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, an expert panel that advises the U.S. Department of State regarding the importation of cultural artifacts; the federal commission established to organize events and programs related to the commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine; the boards of trustees of the National Park Foundation and Eisenhower Fellowships program; the Florida Council of 100; Florida Historical Society; Historical Association of Southern Florida; Mortgage Bankers Association of America; University of Miami; Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places Trust; Mount Sinai Medical Center; St. Francis Foundation; St. Leo University; Greater Miami Jewish Federation; Jewish Family Services; and United Way, among others.
2017 Philanthropy Day Honorees
In addition to Jay I. Kislak, the slate of 2017 honorees included: Harve A. Mogul, Champion of Philanthropy; Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation, Outstanding Grant Maker; Wells Fargo, Julia Tuttle Award for Community Involvement and Corporate Citizenship; Bonnie Crabtree, James W. McLamore Outstanding Volunteer, Nancy T. Hector, Outstanding Philanthropist; and Joshua Williams, Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy.
“We are proud that this tradition was initiated in Miami 32 years ago and is now celebrated globally. … Today’s luncheon offers an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of charitable giving and the spirit of the philanthropy that makes such generosity possible,” said Barbara K. Norland, president of AFP Miami. “Thank you to each of today’s honorees for using your time, talent and treasures to make Miami a better place to be.” Partnering in the event with AFP Miami were the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, The Miami Foundation and the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning of Miami-Dade.