The nomination form for Brian Schottenstein notes the Difference Maker is treasurer of The Ohio State University Hillel board, a JewishColumbus board member and LifeTown Legend award winner. This year, he raised “over $500,000 for the Chabad house in New Albany and (volunteered) his time to work with the kids at LifeTown.”
It continues, “Brian is the best person we have ever had receive this award, working every day to make LifeTown and Chabad stronger.”
What is your most gratifying job and why?
I love seeing people happy where they live in our communities that we develop, build and manage. It is very fulfilling to see our residents enjoy where they live in a place that we built from the ground up.
Was there ever a turning point or shift that made you change how you approach community service or become active in the Jewish world?
I’ve always seen the importance of giving back to our community since a young age and often find it very fulfilling. After college, I got on the (Jewish Federations of North America’s) Young Leadership Cabinet and saw how far behind Columbus was in engaging the young community. I’ve since tried to create many initiatives to help the young Jewish community thrive.
How did your Jewish background inform your interest in giving back?
A mitzvah is any of the 613 commandments that Jews are obligated to observe and more generally refers to any good deed. The “mitzvah of tzedakah” is one of the most important to myself since a young age. I sometimes feel that giving your time is more valuable and important than money.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing the Central Ohio Jewish community? What should be done to promote change?
There are so many charities for people to get involved with and without having a solid young leadership base, the future of Jewish organizations in Central Ohio will have trouble surviving. I have continued to make this my No. 1 issue for the past 10 years by starting back Ben Gurion Society and continuing to try and create a thriving young Jewish community. My ultimate goal would be to have a downtown hub and a growing JewishColumbus initiative where we link Ohio State University students to the general Columbus community.
What’s one takeaway you have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic?
I believe coronavirus will leave long-term changes in the business environment. I feel that although this has been a terrible pandemic, it’s important to stay focused and keep your company going strong. I’ve noticed a lot of people have been using this as an excuse to start slacking and I’ve been working harder than ever before.