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Lory Cooper learned from the experience of her grandparents that the highest level of tzedakah is helping someone help themselves.

Cooper’s grandparents, Simon and Bobbie Kohn, were Holocaust survivors who came to St. Louis after World War II with nothing. Federation helped them learn English, get housing and find work. Simon Kohn got a job in a meat market and eventually started his own business, Simon Kohn’s Kosher Restaurant and Deli. “Without Federation and the help they gave to my grandparents, my family would not be where it is today,” says Cooper.

Cooper’s grandparents passed on the value of giving back to her parents, who in turn raised her and her brother with that value. “My mom gives to Federation—she’s done that my whole life—and now I participate as well,” says Cooper. She became involved in Federation’s Young Professionals Division (YPD) when she returned to St. Louis after college. She is on the YPD board and serves as chair of the happy hour series.

Federation has helped her connect with friends and with her family’s experience. “It is cool that I have a personal connection with Federation,” Cooper says. “I like seeing how it helps other people around the world. It reminds me of my grandparents’ story—it makes more tangible for me to see where the money goes, because my family experienced it.”

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