Jack Ryger began his philanthropy career in 1988. He worked for the UJA-Federation, which, at the time, represented over 130 different agencies that helped to support multiple non-profit organizations on a global scale – from the Lexington School for the Deaf to soup kitchens in Eastern Europe.
At UJA-Federation, Jack Ryger served as a community fundraiser, and oversaw parts of the Gold Coast of Long Island – Old Westbury, Glen Cove, New Hyde Park, and Westbury. His responsibilities also included Muttontown, Engineers, and Tam O’Shanter Country Clubs. Jack helped plan many events including galas and black-tie fundraisers.
In 1991, Jack was transferred to the New York UJA-Federation office where he was involved in various trades and professions such as the milk and dairy industry, automotive aftermarket, electrical industry, construction/heavy construction, Wine & Spirits, Business Professionals, and Real Estate & Allied Trades. Jack Ryger also supported Hillside House, which was a home for battered women. For Hillside House, Jack helped collect clothes and toiletries for women who were forced to leave their abusive husbands and homes and flee to a safe haven.
It was during Jack Ryger’s time at UJA-Federation that he helped initiate a Real Estate Volunteer Committee. The volunteers began an annual holiday party for children with debilitating illnesses including HIV. Jack also led the group in painting an infirmary at a summer camp, and building a children’s playground in the Seaview section of Brooklyn.
Jack Ryger moved to American ORT in 2000, the original model for the Peace Corps. ORT trained over 25% of the work force in Israel. As a staff member, Jack visited Israel, and was proud to see many of the amazing projects American ORT funded. A Columbia University Graduate, Jack consulted on the annual Seixas dinner for Columbia/Barnard Hillel.
After American ORT, Jack Ryger worked with the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS Association. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. A few years ago, Jack’s best friend’s wife was diagnosed with ALS, so the Ryger family participated in the ALS walk in her honor. Since 2006, Jack and his family have donated goods and funds to the ALS Association in her memory.
In 2004, Jack Ryger began working for United Jewish Communities (UJC). At UJC, Jack was in charge of over 65 communities from Maryland to Maine. He also helped plan a Pennsylvania State mission to Israel, which was chaired by the President of Penn State University. The mission was magical. Jack was honored to have met the head of the Israeli Agency JAFI, and saw the former Prime Minister Shimon Peres at a Birthright rally in Latrun, Israel. He also visited the wine fields on the Golan Heights. A guide took Jack and his tour group within 800 yards of the Lebanese border, and indicated where the Hezbollah forces were maintaining their presence. It was a truly spiritual and eye-opening experience for Jack, especially considering that nearly two weeks later, a war erupted between Lebanon and Israel.
In 2005, Jack Ryger attended a dinner for God’s Love We Deliver, a non-profit delivery service that provides meals for individuals who are too sick to shop or make their own food. Jack was so impressed with the charity and their message, that he has been volunteering and offering his professional consulting services to them for over 4 years. Jack has delivered food to clients who suffer with cancer, HIV, ALS, and other life threatening, and debilitating diseases.
In addition, Jack Ryger was selected as one of the Development Professionals to participate in the Harold Grinspoon Foundation Gift Program, which helps develop strong leadership skills for professionals involved in fundraising for camps. The foundation also serves to encourage young adults to reach their academic and leadership potential, along with promoting early childhood education and supporting young entrepreneurship.