Melvin S. Cutler
Melvin S. Cutler, a multi-talented businessman and deeply committed philanthropist, says he has an obligation not only to give, but also to teach others to be charitable. “Volunteering and philanthropy have been a significant part of my life. As I became more successful in business, I wanted to give back to the community and to help those less fortunate. It also makes me feel good."
Mel learned the importance of both hard work and charitable giving at an early age. Raised in the Bronx in a Socialist/Zionist family, Mel studied at a Workmen's Circle school where he learned about personal values and social concerns. His earliest fund raising experiences were collecting money and selling stamps for the Jewish National Fund.
Mel has been involved with the local Jewish community since he moved to Worcester in 1964. In 1967, true to his Zionist background, he made his first significant gift to the Jewish Federation. "The '67 War got me involved in contributing and soliciting," he said. It also led him to serve on the Federation Board and the Foundation Committee.
To further his charitable goal of improving the lives of Jews and non-Jews Mel has created a charitable foundation, the Melvin S. Cutler Charitable Foundation, that has been giving across the spectrum of charitable causes, from medical research to helping the poor and needy to caring for underprivileged children.
Through his creative and energetic philanthropy, Mel has continued in his role of a teacher of charitable giving. On his 70th birthday, he sent $1,000 to 70 friends asking them to send it to their favorite charities. Each December, Mel writes letters to business associates and friends asking them to nominate their favorite charities, to which he then contributes. Mel has also used his foundation to educate his children in charitable giving so that they could carry on his life’s work.
Mel’s commitment to Tzedakah extends well beyond his lifetime. He deeply believes in the importance or creating permanent unrestricted funds to perpetuate the work of the Federation. And as always, Mel has led by example: several years ago, he established a Perpetual Annual Campaign Endowment. Mel’s life experiences made him concerned about the continuity of the Jewish community. “I want to maintain the community and support Israel. That’s why I am making this gift,” says Mel.