Honoring the Life of Don Slotkin

Written by Ned Greenberg, Governance Committee Member, Gleaners Community Food Bank 

With the recent passing of Don Slotkin, the Gleaners community has lost one of its great champions. Don was the chairman of the Gleaners Community Food Bank Board of Directors in the 1990s, and he and his wife, Edith, were inaugural members of Gleaners’ Legacy Society in 2008. Don facilitated the transition of leadership from Gleaners’ Founder, Gene Gonya, to the ensuing Gleaners’ President and CEO, Rick Loewenstein. 

“Don was a great mentor to me and to so many others. It was important to him to ensure a smooth transition from the founder to the next generation of leadership,” said Loewenstein. “He was humble, smart, thoughtful, and passionate about the work Gleaners does.” 

Those who know Don enjoyed the privilege of watching a maestro in action – not just because Don was an accomplished musician, but because he was a master at leading the organization and inspiring those around him to take on leadership roles as well. 

Don always mixed humor with serious consideration, guiding open discussion while keeping us focused on the mission when making decisions. He promoted ambitious goals to expand Gleaners’ role and reach in the community, even through challenging times.  

Don led with intelligence and honesty, making sure that everyone understood the work that needed to be done and that we were the ones responsible for working to make it happen. Don defined what it is to be an effective and inclusive leader.  

For those of us who learned from his example, and for the enduring impact Don had in helping make Gleaners the organization it is today, we thank Don and remember him with deep gratitude.