Harley Lippman: A Philanthropic Journey of Compassion & Giving
In the heart of America, among the parades and celebrations that define the nation’s spirit, there is a man whose dedication to a remarkable cause has been silently shaping lives for the past 25 years. Harley Lippman, a name synonymous with compassion and philanthropy, has been on a mission to honor Vietnam War veterans and support various charitable initiatives that touch the depths of humanity.
Lippman’s journey into philanthropy was sparked by a poignant encounter during a July parade. As he witnessed Vietnam veterans, the largest group of veterans never warmly welcomed in the United States, he couldn’t help but notice the discomfort that surrounded them. People seemed unsure of how to interact with these veterans, how to convey the gratitude and warmth that they rightfully deserved.
Motivated by a desire to make a difference, Lippman embarked on a heartfelt mission. Alongside his young children, he began a tradition of personally welcoming these veterans with handwritten notes expressing gratitude. These small gestures soon evolved into something much more profound.
Lippman began placing signs along the parade route, bearing messages like “We are grateful” and “Thank you.” The impact was astounding. The veterans, who had longed for recognition, responded with tears, hugs and overwhelming gratitude. One veteran, who had previously been called a “baby killer” on the subway, found solace and understanding in Lippman’s support.
Over time, Lippman’s relationship with these veterans transformed from initial encounters into lasting friendships. They started sharing dinners and, in some cases, offering financial assistance when needed. Lippman’s mission was not just about making these veterans feel good; it was about standing by those who had sacrificed so much for their country.
Surprisingly, Lippman discovered that many of these veterans hailed from Long Island, and their stories revealed a diverse range of experiences. Some were drafted, while others enlisted voluntarily, but all shared a profound bond of having served during a tumultuous period in American history.
Lippman’s dedication extends beyond supporting Vietnam veterans. He is the sole financial supporter of an orphanage in Cambodia, providing an education to underprivileged children. His philanthropic endeavors also include sending numerous kids to college, an act he believes has an enormous impact on people’s lives.
One of Lippman’s most compelling initiatives sheds light on an often-overlooked aspect of the Holocaust. He highlights the period from 1939 to 1942 when mass industrial extermination of Jews had not yet begun. Lippman’s documentary, Safeguarding Memory, features eyewitness accounts of this harrowing time, where young children witnessed the horrors inflicted upon their neighbors.
In addition to his philanthropic work, Lippman is a successful entrepreneur, owning a consulting company. His dedication to helping veterans gain employment underscores his commitment to making a difference in their lives. He believes that veterans, with their selfless dedication and teamwork, make exceptional employees when given the right support.
Lippman’s local involvement extends to causes close to home, such as supporting abused women who lack the financial means for legal services. He emphasizes the importance of addressing issues in one’s own community.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable aspects of Lippman’s philanthropy is his commitment to uncovering mass graves related to the Holocaust. He meticulously researches archives, funds memorials, and even involves ministers, rabbis and schoolchildren in the process to create educational experiences that honor the victims.
His dedication to public service and giving back has earned him appointments from multiple U.S. presidents for historical preservation efforts, despite being unfunded.
Lippman’s remarkable journey of compassion and giving is a testament to the power of one individual to make a profound impact on the lives of others. As he continues to change lives, he leaves us with a powerful message: “We are our brothers’ keepers, and it’s our duty to help those in need.”
In his legacy of kindness and empathy, 1Lippman reminds us of the transformative potential of selfless giving.
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.