Donald M. Ephraim: Philanthropy and Professional Development

Donald M. Ephraim and Maxine MarksDonald M. Ephraim is no stranger to the arts and its relationship to business. After spending most of his life as a lawyer in Chicago representing some of the city’s biggest and brightest celebrities (including famous film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel), Ephraim retired to North Palm Beach in the late 1990s. In 1990, he also founded The Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival, which strives to bring the finest examples of cinema from around the world to the area.
“One of the things that I love about Palm Beach County, is the availability of the arts here,” says Ephraim. “It’s terrific! For its size, [Palm Beach County] is one of the best in the country. ”
For four years, Ephraim has served on the Cultural Council’s board of directors and has applied his extensive professional knowledge to improving the organization’s ability to serve its members and cultural community as a whole. “With my CPA and financial background, I think that [the arts] contribute to Palm Beach County, certainly to its psychological well-being, but also to its financial well-being.”
It is with that spirit of dedication to the arts that Donald M. Ephraim and Maxine Marks have made a $250,000 gift to the Council and established The Donald M. Ephraim Cultural Leadership Fund in support of the organization’s mission to grow the sector. Because of this donation, the Council was able to create and program the Institute for Cultural Advancement and, along with a generous donation from Suzanne L. Niedland, the Palm Beach County Arts Accelerator program. “I thought that this was an opportunity for [cultural organizations] to get training in business techniques, in ways to fund their activities and all of the elements a good business has,” says Ephraim. “Which, I think, has to be part of the arts and culture scene.”
A portion of this donation was also dedicated to naming the north gallery at the Council’s headquarters, in addition to general operating support. The grand unveiling of the Donald M. Ephraim Family Gallery was celebrated on May 24, 2018.


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