'I thought it would be unfair if I didn't help others'

GEOFF MATTHEWS -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:57 AM ET

Ottawa Renegades majority owner Bernie Glieberman has a simple philosophy when it comes to charity: With great success comes great responsibility.

About a decade ago the building magnate recognized that he had amassed a bigger fortune than he could ever expect to spend.

"I had more money than time, so I thought it would be unfair, after the success I have had, if I didn't help others."

Glieberman prefers to help anonymously, channelling some of his money through his local synagogue "to people who have fallen between the cracks" ... the family that has lost a husband and father but that is too proud to ask for assistance; the wife who has just left a drug-addicted husband and is trying to raise two children on a modest income.

He donates his monthly government pension cheque through a special account administered by the rabbi, and tops it up with other donations.

LOVES ANIMALS

"Every time I take a commercial flight instead of using my private jet, I calculate the difference in price and add that to the account."

Recipients of money from the fund are asked to contribute back to it should they find financial success in the future.

"Not so I can get anything out of it, but because then even more people can benefit," says Glieberman.

The Renegades owner promises to get involved in charitable causes in Ottawa as he settles into his role here, singling out the Ottawa Humane Society as a likely beneficiary.

"Maybe we'll have them bring some of the dogs they have available for adoption to a game so the fans can get an appreciation of the need," said Glieberman.

He has a soft spot for animal shelters. Glieberman picked up his own family pet --- an 11-year-old part-beagle called Taylor -- from his local humane society, and calls her the smartest, best dog he has ever owned. "This is a dog that would have been euthanized if we hadn't come along."

He has a hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing what charities to support.

"I want to know where the money is going ... that the majority of it is going to help people. I won't donate to organizations where 40-50% (of the money) is being used up in administration."

geoff.matthews@ott.sunpub.com


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