Jewish Community Foundation honors Greg Gadarian’s service

Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona President and CEO Graham Hoffman, left, and Greg Gadarian at a seminar honoring Gadarian July 31 at the Harvey and Deanna Evenchik Center for Jewish Philanthropy (Brenda Landau/Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona)

Introducing Greg Gadarian, who was honored at a recent Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona Summer Series seminar for his 30 years of service as co-founder of JCF’s Professional Advisory Group, Sarah Singer said, “Greg is honest, ethical, smart, and some might even say brilliant — but he will say he just works harder than anyone else.”

Gadarian is a partner at Gadarian and Cacy, P.L.L.C.; Singer, who said he likes to introduce her as his “understudy,” is an associate at the firm.

Gadarian cofounded the JCF group with Allan Bogutz, who is retired from Bogutz and Gordon; they also started the Summer Series 15 years ago.

From 1978 through 1980, Gadarian was a legislation attorney on the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, U.S. Congress.  Prior to that, he was an attorney-advisor to Judge Cynthia H. Hall of the U.S. Tax Court. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and has served on the board of the Tucson Country Club Fire District for 20 years. He is a member of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, where he’s held several positions including Arizona state chair.

“Beyond his knowledge and experience, though, what sets Greg apart are the three Cs,” said Singer. “He is compassionate, creative, and curious. After decades of practice, some attorneys might be at risk of stagnation, but not Greg. He’s passionate about refining the work he does to fit each unique client need.

“Greg has shared his expertise with many non-profit organizations in town, including and especially the JCF. The JCF has a special place in Greg’s heart, so much so that many people just assume he is Jewish,” said Singer. Gadarian, who is Armenian-American, also has served on the boards of Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging and the Tucson Jewish Community Center; his son, Michael, is now the J’s chief financial officer.

JCF President and CEO Graham Hoffman praised Gadarian’s focus on education and understanding. “When Foundation staff meets with him, he could easily provide answers by citing tax code or case law, but he takes the time to use real life examples, to explain and mentor, to make sure that each of us is better for having had the conversation.”

Hoffman also spoke of Gadarian’s quick wit, noting that he has “a knack for inserting humor at just the right (or the uncomfortably wrong) time.”

Since Gadarian also is passionate about helping members of the community with special needs, Hoffman said, JCF chose to support the Taglit Day Program for young adults with special needs at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. He invited attendees to join with those who had already contributed and raised more than $7,500 that day.

Presenting Gadarian with a tzedakah box, Hoffman explained, “The Hebrew word tzedakah means righteous justice. Loosely translated, tzedakah is charity which ultimately helps bring a sense of justice to the world.”

Gadarian spoke to seminar attendees about volunteerism, explaining that when you volunteer and give, “you actually get more than you give. You get the satisfaction of doing something good for others.” Explaining that much of his volunteer work is teaching, he told the AJP, “What good is it for me to be good at what I do if I can’t pass it on?”

Gadarian also spoke to the AJP about the similarities between Armenian and Jewish history and values.

“The history of the Armenian people and the history of the Jewish people has been one of persecution because of religion, because of cultural differences,” he said, citing the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide during World War I. Armenia, he noted, is surrounded by Arab nations, much like Israel.

The values of Jewish and Armenian people — and many other ethnic groups, Gadarian hastened to add — are “in no particular order, God, community, family, and education. What is there not to admire about people who have those values?”