Have You Met?

Name: Robin Chotin

Hometown: Denver

Resident: Denver

Education: BA in Political Science, Teachers Certification

Profession: Community Leader & Philanthropist; Former teacher; Owned and operated a limousine company.

Status: Married to Steven

Family: Children: Mauri & Scott Zemachson, Whitney Chotin, Ross Chotin. Grandchildren: Jax & Cade Zemachson

Story by: Nancy Koontz

Smiles nurture us spiritually, and Robin Chotin’s radiating and welcoming smile did just that when she first greeted me.

There are so many things to admire and respect about Robin, but most of all she understands the ethics of being responsible to her community, family and her faith. In 2006, The Jewish Women's Philanthropy Center of the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado honored Robin Chotin for her “hesed” (which in Hebrew means “loving kindness”) with its “Golda Meir Award” - named after the only female prime minister of Israel and also one of the most influential women of the 20th century. This highly prestigious award is given annually to an outstanding volunteer in the Jewish community who has moved others to also become genuinely involved.

At an earlier time in Robin’s life, she says she was shy and uncomfortable around large groups of people. She has genuinely blossomed into a competent and inspirational leader who can now stand and speak in front of hundreds of people. Robin has the ability to convey her sincere desire to see pain and suffering removed from the world. Robin’s work at the Allied Jewish Federation has taken her on humanitarian missions to many places like Israel, the Former Soviet Union, Cuba, and Argentina.

Robin’s husband, Steve, proudly remarks: "It has been a joy and a marvel to watch her flourish as a leader and a role model."

Doug Seserman, the President and CEO of the Allied Jewish Federation honored Robin by saying: "She is a tireless champion for our Jewish community and has been an invaluable asset to the federation."

Continuing to move full-speed ahead, Robin Chotin has turned on the light of hope and giving. Robin, with all that you have to offer and share with the world, it’s truly your time to shine.

What fundraising activities are you involved in at this time? I currently sit on the board and raise funds for the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, National Jewish Hospital Medical and Research Center, Shalom Park and the National Women’s Philanthropy Board of United Jewish Communities.

To what do you attribute your success in cultivating such outstanding donor support to your causes? I am probably persistent to a fault and care very deeply about what I believe in which I try to relate to the donors I meet. Along with my passion, however, I also listen to what the donor feels, and together we decide how best to champion the causes we support.

Who is your hero, and why? My mother was my hero. I always knew how much she loved, and I most admired her for her strength in the face of adversity. She battled two very severe medical problems. She survived a brain aneurism which nearly killed her. She was in a coma for a month and no one including the doctor’s believed she would survive. Survive she did! She fought back everyday to regain her faculties when it would have been much easier to simply have given up. She never complained, not for one moment. Her strength and courage will always be a reminder to me of how I want to live my life.

Who is your mentor? I have many mentors. I respect various people for their passion, leadership and commitment and for the many things they have accomplished. Numerous and diverse people have influenced me during my life.

What is a favorite childhood memory? One of my favorite memories of my childhood was taking the train on many occasions to Las Vegas with my parents and brother. It was an overnight trip and quite luxurious in those days. It was a great treat to eat in the dining car, sleep in the berths and to see the country side.

What do you most value in your friends? I value honesty, loyalty, humor and understanding in my friends.

What is the one thing nobody knows about you? I am very shy. (With Robin’s warm & vivacious personality, this one is hard to believe…)

What one word would others use to describe you? I have been described as goofy, wacky and a bit crazy.

Does anything test your patience? I have very little patience with people who are self centered and feel no responsibility to contribute to the world in which they live.

What topic are you most opinionated about? I am most opinionated about Israel and the Middle East.

You are always so beautifully dressed; do you have a favorite clothing store? Unfortunately, I have a panoply of favorite stores here and around the country.

What is your personal motto – or favorite quote? Golda Meir, another one of my heroes, said “I never did anything alone. Whatever I accomplished in this country was accomplished collectively”. I truly feel that whatever I have accomplished has been accomplished as a result of the efforts of many.

What can make you cry? The situation in Darfur - and other genocidal areas around the world.

Can you tell us about one of those moments in your life that is “totally beyond you”? My husband and I were in Israel at a UJA event, and we were given the honor of personally presenting an award to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin whom we had spent time with before the awards ceremony. That was the last time we were to see him. He was assassinated an hour later.

What do you consider your proudest achievement? I believe my proudest achievement was chairing the board of the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado.

You are the essence of the Hebrew words: Tzedakah (charity) & Tikkun Olam (to repair the world) in our community; what does this mean to you? I try to fulfill the obligation of Tzedakah – charity - by supporting charitable causes that are important to me. Also in the name of Tzedakah, I volunteer my time by taking an active role in various organizations and work to raise funds to help support the causes that are important to those organizations. Tikun Olam - to repair the world - means to me to do my best to be kind and caring to everyone, and to do what I can in my own small way to make this a better world.

What sort of future do you see for charitable giving with the next few generations coming up after us? I believe the next generation wants to be more hands on in their charitable giving. They may not believe as much in an annual campaign as they do in designated giving and want to take a more active role in their charitable relationships.

How do you want to be remembered by future generations? I am most concerned about how my children, grandchildren and loved ones will remember me. I hope they will have fond memories and that I have done things in my lifetime that they will admire and respect. I pray that I have been a positive role model for them and others in our community.

Robin’s Community Work: She is a board member of the National Women's Philanthropy of United Jewish Communities and of Shalom Park and is a trustee for the National Jewish Medical and Research Center.

Robin previously served on the Rose Medical Center Women's Auxiliary, the board of trustees of Colorado Academy and the Jewish Life Committee for the Rose Community Foundation.

An Allied Jewish Federation board member since 1996, Robin recently served as chairwoman of AJF's governing body, the Coordinating Council. When Robin received the “2006 Golda Award” she joined a group of distinguished women who have received the Golda award since its inception in 1980. She was selected by a committee of past and present leadership from the JWPC along with former Golda recipients including Selma Cohen, Charlene Loup, Ruth Toltz, Carol Karsh, Claire Seiden, Roz Ash, Judy Robins, Jane E. Rosenbaum, Marlene Siegel, Robyn Loup, Carol Mizel, Debra Herz, Essie Perlmutter, Arlene Hirschfeld, Shelley Krovitz, Elaine Asarch, Andrea Hyatt, Marsha Gardenswartz and Lee Kay. Robin follows in the footsteps of 2005 Golda recipient Linda Fenner, who succumbed to breast cancer in December.


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