Meet Ronnie Footlick

By the time she was a young girl, Ronnie Footlick knew that being Jewish meant responsibility.

Her grandfather would often sit her down and tell her stories about her family history – having arrived in the country as Russian immigrants.

“It’s the age-old tale of religious discrimination. My family immigrated from Russia after facing pogroms and persecution there,” she says. “My grandfather would talk about this and emphasize the importance that as Jews, we must take care of one another because no one else would. That would stay with me as an adult and ultimately guide my giving.”

Those stories would leave an indelible mark on young Ronnie, as would her move to Baltimore at the age of 10. It was then that she discovered a unique Jewish community, all bound together in the city’s Northwest corridor.

“In Philadelphia I lived in a neighborhood that was equally Jewish and Christian. My next-door neighbor was an Italian Catholic and I learned about their holidays and religion. The first thing I noticed when I moved here were that there were no Christmas lights. It was all Jewish!”

Ronnie graduated from Forest Park High School and received a B.A. with honors in history from the University of Maryland, College Park. She became a social worker for Baltimore County Social Services, married Bob Footlick and they had two daughters, Leslie and Randi.

After one of her daughters was born and spent several months at Sinai Hospital — which Ronnie credited with saving her life – she became an active volunteer at the hospital. Shortly thereafter, she became involved with The Associated as an advisor to the young Leadership Council. Then she joined the board of Jewish Vocational Services (JVS), (now a program area of Jewish Community Services). It was the perfect opportunity to bring her professional skills to the work of the organization.

One of the things that stayed with her during her tenure on the JVS board was the many recipients who would share their stories about how JVS made a difference in their lives. Ronnie will never forget one of those stories – that of a Jewish father with young kids who recently lost his job to downsizing.

“With tears in his eyes and voice trembling, he told us how he was charged with taking care of his family and how scared he was that he wouldn’t be able to. And, then he told us how grateful he was to JVS—they helped him find a job.”

Today, Ronnie, who is Director of Human Resources for her family business, Bond Distributing, is serving as chair of the 2019 Women’s Campaign. She understands that women care deeply about where their dollars go, making a huge impact in philanthropy. She also is thrilled that her two daughters are involved, recently co-chairing The Associated’s Culinary Keynote event.

When asked about The Associated, she says she sees it as an organization that is critical to the survival of Jewish Baltimore – supporting those in need and infusing Jewish identity. “The problems we face today are no different than the problems we faced 25, 35, even 100 years ago. People in need are still in need in our community,” she says.

“It’s often joked that all Jewish people do well, but that’s not the case. It is our job to take care of our people.”

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