ADL Regional Board Member David Fogel shares his passion for history, community service and the critical and timely work of ADL.
How did you first become involved in ADL? How are you involved now?
I became involved with ADL in 1997. I was serving on Denver B’nai B’rith Board and one of our members had left the ADL Board and I requested that I be allowed to replace him. ADL accepted my application. Currently, I serve as Chair of the Catholic Jewish Dialogue and I’m a member of the Civil Rights Committee.
What do you do in your professional life?
I’m a semi-retired lawyer; I teach at DU – OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) from time to time; I am a community activist and serve on several community service boards.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a major league baseball player.
Where were you born? From where do your ancestors hail?
In was born in Denver and am a 4th generation Denverite. On my mother’s side, my ancestors were from Belarus. On my father’s side, they were from Poland and Germany.
What’s your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving – we get the whole family together.
What’s your favorite food?
What are you reading?
Faster, Higher, Stronger by Mark McClusky.
What’s a special place you have visited?
There are many to choose from. Manmade – Petra in Jordan; Nature – flying on small private plane with family through the Alaskan glaciers or flying in a helicopter over a Hawaiian Island looking at waterfalls, pristine forests and volcanoes.
What’s one thing every person should know or experience?
Who am I to speak for everyone? As the beauty contest contestants like to say, I hope everyone will experience peace.
What teacher or class stands out to you the most in your education and why?
Sixth grade mathematics taught by Will Niederhut. It gave me a love for mathematics and taught me shortcut tricks for problem solving without using a pencil and paper or a calculator (I know, we didn’t have calculators when I was in 6th grade).
What are you passionate about personally? What can’t you stop talking about?
Current events and history. I read newspapers, magazines, and articles every day and have newspaper subscriptions to two daily newspapers and one weekly newspaper and receive one free bi-weekly newspaper which I read as well. I prefer print on paper over reading on the internet but I do it.
Where can we find you when you’re not working?
I am semi-retired—mostly retired. I serve and am active on seven organizational boards ranging from legal, Jewish and nonsectarian community service. I enjoy travel and my wife and I leave the country at least once a year and have done so for many years as well as visit one son in New York and one son in California at least twice a year. I enjoy baseball and I’m a Rockies season ticket holder; I like working out – I shoot baskets and dribble for 15 minutes before each workout. I play table tennis from 7 to 9 hours per week and meet with a coach one hour a week every week. Best of all, I enjoy dining out and being with my wife Linda.
What would be impossible for you to give up?
Shooting baskets on a basketball court. I have been doing that since I was a little kid.
If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
I have taught and do teach. As an active lawyer, I taught aspiring paralegals at Denver Community College. I taught at the University of Denver Law School for several years in their clinical program. Most recently, I taught a course at the University of Denver – OLLI: American History Through the Eyes of Baseball.
Tell me a story that immediately pops into your mind that was a defining or significant moment for you.
I was fortunate in applying for and becoming an Assistant United States Attorney right out of law school. I did criminal cases and also represented the IRS and SBA (Small Business Administration) in Colorado. After that, I worked for the Denver Public Defender’s Office and soon thereafter became a chief trial deputy. From there, I went into private practice at age 29. At age 43, after closing a complicated commercial real estate and tax transaction for a client, I sat at my desk and thought, I really know what I’m doing. It sounds strange, but as a lawyer or as a professional you are always learning and always worried that you are missing something. It wasn’t until age 43 that I felt confident that I had done a good job and knew what I was doing. That moment was very special for me. And yes, I felt compelled to keep learning after that moment.
If you are a legacy donor, why have you chosen to invest in ADL in this way?
If you believe in the institution or cause and you have the financial means to support that institution or cause, I believe that providing a legacy gift and being charitable is part and parcel of our purpose in life.
Why do you choose to make a financial investment in ADL?
For me, it is the most significant and important non-religious Jewish institution of them all. Fighting hate against Jews and others and doing a meaningful job at getting it done is important and crucial. ADL gets it done!