Daniel A. Burack ’55, HON’08, member of the University of Vermont Foundation’s Leadership Council and chair of the UVM Hillel Board, and his wife Carole Burack HON’08 have made a gift of $2,500,000 towards a new home for UVM Hillel on campus. Their gift will be directed toward the design, planning and renovation of 439 College Street as a vibrant hub for Jewish life, and will support ongoing and inclusive programming at UVM Hillel.
Ardent supporters of UVM Hillel, the Buracks hope others will see their gift as a call-to-action. “Now is the time for us to combine our Jewish values of giving back and creating a bright future for Jewish students at UVM,” urged the couple. “We believe this gift will spur others to join us in generating an exciting fundraising campaign that advances UVM Hillel. Gifts can come in many forms, including pledges, gift annuities, and other estate gifts.”
In the five years since Dan has chaired its board, UVM Hillel has seen extraordinary growth with participation increasing from 330 students in 2013 to 1,655 in 2017, and a projected 2,000 students for the current academic year. UVM Hillel aspires for an inclusive environment and extends its activities beyond traditional programming. Students from all backgrounds and beliefs are invited to engage with the program and one another as a way to create community and form lasting connections.
The temporary location for UVM Hillel on Colchester Avenue is routinely over capacity for core programming such as Shabbat services and dinners, Passover and High Holidays. The new facility at 439 College Street will provide accommodations for the more than 220 events facilitated by Hillel each year as well as house all of its professional staff. The second floor residential space will provide an inclusive living and learning community for more than 20 students with a separate lounge and kitchen access for residents.
"Dan and Carole’s cumulative philanthropy has made an impact on thousands of students. Their involvement with UVM Hillel provides students the means to make a difference in the world,” said Tom Sullivan, president of the University of Vermont. “This new gift will ensure a vibrant center of Jewish life at UVM for generations to come.”
Constructed in 1923, 439 College Street was originally home to former UVM fraternity Phi Delta Theta. The Colonial Revival style structure incorporates local materials in its marble façade and Vermont slate roof. Immediately adjacent to the UVM president’s residence (Englesby House) and across from the main administration building, the structure’s location will provide for a distinct environment that blends student activity, academic life, and residential experiences.
"The new facility will benefit campus by providing a physical center of support for students to connect with high-quality, inclusive Jewish life,” said Matt Vogel, executive director of UVM Hillel. “We envision a hub of activity where all students can come to grab coffee, study, attend class, plan and participate in the hundreds of programs Hillel facilitates each year. A typical week at the new Hillel center could see yoga, Challah for Hunger baking, student group meetings, mentorship from our professional staff, skill building, and accessible learning about Jewish life.”
Along with their son, Adam ’85 and grand-daughter Abigail ’16, the Burack family’s prior philanthropy at UVM has supported a professorship in the College of Education and Social Services, an endowed scholarship, and the Burack President’s Distinguished Lecture Series and the Fleming Museum.
Dan is chairman of Burack Investments and one of the founding partners of ABS Partners Real Estate. In addition to his role as chair of UVM Hillel’s Board of Directors, he is a member of Hillel International’s Board of Governors. He was a founding member of the UVM Foundation’s Board of Directors. Carole served on the Fleming Museum Board of Advisors.
As a result of this gift, UVM Administration and UVM Hillel will complete an agreement that finalizes plans for the use and renovation of the facility. The UVM Foundation will support the Move Mountains campaign by continuing to focus on a donor-centric approach to fundraising.
“The Buracks have found a special way to blend their interest in supporting UVM’s student body and investing in UVM Hillel,” said Shane Jacobson, president and CEO of the UVM Foundation. “Dan and Carole have provided us with the opportunity to share their story of investment in Jewish life with the idea that we develop a broader and more impactful donor community supporting the uniqueness and diversity of our students.”