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Living Through Giving: Eric J. Vainder

Discover the life lessons that shape the charitable endeavors of South Florida philanthropists.

Eric J. Vainder, CFP, CIMA, Northern Trust’s senior market executive of Broward County, senior vice president, says his more than two decades with the company have taught him the benefit of giving back.

“I believe the mindset that I have came from people who taught me, who guided me and who explained to me at the early stage of my career the importance of getting involved in your community. One of the benefits of working at a bank like Northern Trust is that I’ve had great mentors.”

Eric says it was a question posed to him early in his career by one of his mentors, Ed Joyce, that stuck with him. Joyce, now the vice chairman of Grove Bank & Trust, was with Northern Trust for 37 years, many of those as president of the South Florida region.

“He asked me what I was doing, what involvement I had in the community. Then he spoke to me about not only getting involved but the importance of aligning with organizations that focused on the same types of goals that I did,” Eric recalls.

Watching and learning from his mentors was part of the education of how to not only contribute professionally but also the importance of being a positive force in the community. “Just like you watch your career and what you should do within an organization, you also watch what they do, and you try to emulate that. I was fortunate to have a lot of great mentors who were making a difference in the community. I learned that’s the way all of us will be better served — by contributing to the strength of the community.”

Overtown Youth Center (OYC): Eric says mentorship is patronage. As a board member at OYC, he says he makes it a point to be present. “I think it’s really important whenever you volunteer in a setting like OYC that you are showing people that they can ‘be’ and they can ‘do.'” Speaking about Alonzo Mourning, the NBA Hall-of-Famer, who co-founded OYC in 2003, Eric says: “He’s an amazing leader and he’s so passionate about the community. He’s passionate and involved in the workings of OYC daily.” And having the kids at OYC see him and Mourning is a way to offer perspective. At a recent Mentoring Mondays at OYC, Eric says he offered this advice: “If you’re not 6’ 10?, you’re ‘probably not going be the next Alonzo Mourning, but you could be me, you could be successful, and have a great career.” (https://overtownyouth.org/)

Eric is also a former chairman of the board and is currently on the board of Easterseals Florida, a board member of the Community Foundation of Broward, and a board member of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts Foundation.

Words to Live By: “My father always said it’s about trying your best — when you try your best, good things will happen. Win, lose or draw, so much in life is effort. It is effort that is going to separate you from others.”

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