In the summer of 2022, Craig Goldwasser and Andrew Chan reached out to JCCA. The longtime friends had launched their eponymous law firm a few months before, committing to giving 10% of their firm’s earnings to charitable causes in the community. Less than a year later, they have become five-figure donors and continue to make gifts quarterly. We spoke to Andrew and Craig to learn more about this generous mission.
JCCA: What’s the backstory behind your friendship and firm?
Craig: We met a decade ago when we were working at another firm. We hit it off right away. It’s unlike any other friendship I have. I’m Jewish and Andrew is Christian. Even though we were enjoying our youth we eventually connected over our shared spiritual aspirations. We helped each other through some difficult moments, the growing pains of early adulthood. Now that we have families, our families are close, too. In time we both left that firm and jumped around a bit before deciding we wanted to start something together. We opened Goldwasser & Chan last year and hit the ground running.
Andrew: I met Craig when I was coming out of my youthful hedonism and self-centeredness. Finding faith marked a big change in my life. I explored going into ministry full-time and started seminary while practicing law to support myself. Eventually I reached a decision point. I realized that it was a blessing to have had the resources and ability to get a law degree and build a business, and that I could use those blessings to impact others. We want to approach mishpat––justice––from that foundation. Not only achieving justice for our clients, but justice for the community at large. We’re starting with a local focus. When we looked at our client base, about a third are in New York City, a third in New Jersey, and a third in Westchester County. We sought non-profit partners in all three. We valued organizations that had a successful and long history. JCCA was at the top of the list.
JCCA: Plenty of businesses give once they’re established and secure. What inspired Goldwasser & Chan to give such a significant portion from very beginning?
Andrew: When you’re creating a new entity you’re also creating a culture and identity. One of the values we wanted this business to have was generosity. We want to continually remind ourselves that the point of earning money isn’t to improve our own lives but to better the world around us. The figure of 10% has its roots in the Biblical tradition of tithing. It felt like a good starting point.
JCCA: How did you learn about JCCA?
Craig: Living in Westchester I knew a lot of people involved on the Pleasantville campus. Andrew and I did our research into the many things JCCA does and their mission clicked with us right away. We’ve each known young people who’ve had troubles and challenges. We visited the campus and were blown away by how much JCCA is doing for these kids.
JCCA: What’s next?
Craig: This isn’t just about giving money for us. We’re eager to see Pleasantville revitalized. We’re planning to bring our whole staff out to the campus for a volunteer day. We want them to feel connected to this partnership, too.