Since marrying in the early 1970s, Ron Weiner ’66 and his wife, Vicki, have devoted about 25 percent of their time to nonprofit organizations. “I believe it’s our responsibility to change the world in a positive way,” says Vicki.
After a childhood in suburban New Jersey, Ron arrived at Babson as a self-described “socially maladjusted loner.” But he quickly found a welcoming community that transformed him and allowed him to thrive. He remembers a campus filled with individualistic people—Bob Weissman ’64, Roger Enrico ’65, Brian Barefoot ’66, Jim Herbert ’66, and others—people who thought differently and who accepted those who were different from themselves.
When his early career as an accountant landed Ron at a firm in New York City, he found himself sharing a small apartment with Jay Reilly ’66, Bob Aprea ’65, and fellow former cocaptain of the Babson soccer team—and future Babson president—Brian Barefoot. They all were close, and the latter relationship later resulted in Ron being invited to join the Babson board of trustees in the late 1980s, leading to his more than three decades of service to Babson, which continues with his current roles as trustee emeritus and chairman of Babson Global.
Vicki grew up in Los Angeles and later moved to New York City, where she met Ron through mutual friends. She worked on Wall Street as a security analyst and then in investor relations and corporate communications. She also began her involvement in organizations that work for social change and support women and the Jewish community, such as the National Council of Jewish Women, the UJA-Federation of New York, and the Financial Women’s Association. “When you come to a new community,” she says, “finding like-minded people committed to philanthropy is a good way to meet people of substance who share your values.”
Vicki now focuses her efforts on the Women’s Enterprise Action Loan Fund, a microlending fund she created for women-owned businesses in the New York City area. Since 2012, the organization has provided businesses with interestfree loans, as well as mentoring and help with business plans, cash flow, cost analysis, and marketing strategy. The fund serves as a financial, and sometimes emotional, safety net for entrepreneurs who often are single moms and owners of small businesses that can’t get loans from banks. “The mentoring is as valuable as the money,” says Vicki.
Today Ron is chairman and president of Perelson Weiner, a CPA firm in New York City. He also is president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. His volunteer leadership roles and service to organizations such as the American Jewish Committee and the Citizens Budget Commission have allowed him to meet with presidents, prime ministers, and with Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. “It is pretty heady stuff for a kid from New Jersey who became an accountant,” he says. But his work on behalf of nonprofit organizations—including the Lighthouse Guild, which provides services for people who are blind or visually impaired, and the Cancer Research Institute—is what gives his life a sense of purpose.
Generous donors to Babson since 1979, the Weiners also are members of the Babson Legacy Society, having designated the College in their estate planning to benefit future generations of Babson students. While the Weiners’ commitment to service and philanthropy is informed by their Jewish faith, Ron recalls a lesson he learned from the Dalai Lama’s book, The Art of Happiness. Age and experience, Ron says, have shown him that happiness is the result of helping others. Vicki is quick to agree. “I believe we’re supposed to repair the world,” she says, “and leave it a better place.” —Jeff Stupakevich, manager, advancement communications