Co-Founder of the Rona and Jeffrey Abramson Foundation
About Jeffrey Abramson
Jeffrey Abramson is the co-founder of The Rona and Jeffrey Abramson Foundation, which he founded with his wife in 2012. For Jeffrey, his life mission has always remained the same. It’s all about ending suffering and protecting our planet.
Through the Foundation, he generously gives his guidance and resources to global organizations. These organizations partner on initiatives that introduce Transcendental Meditation (TM) to vulnerable populations and/or focus on environmental sustainability, health and wellness, education, music and the arts.
Jeffrey is also a partner of The Tower Companies, a family-owned commercial real estate development company. It is headquartered in the Washington, D.C., USA and a recognised green building leader.
Jeffrey and his family view their company’s mission and their philanthropy as one and the same. His leadership and passion have been acknowledged by many organisations including the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Aspen Institute, United States Green Building Council, United States Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy.
He also serves on as a Trustee Emeritus for the National Building Museum based in Washington, D.C., is a Founding Trustee for the David Lynch Foundation, and is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Maharishi International University.
Transcendental Meditation and philanthropy come together as we hear Jeffrey Abramson discuss his Foundation’s work and his support of Maharishi International University and the David Lynch Foundation
Jeffrey is a Washington DC-based philanthropist who’s been practising Transcendental Meditation (TM) for more than 40 years and he’s a Co-Founder of the Rona and Jeffrey Abramson Foundation.
He started thinking about improving the world when he was just 8 years old. He knew he wanted to end suffering and he wanted the solution to be one thing that could be given to people everywhere to change their circumstances, so they were the ones who lifted themselves up, and it needed to make them self-sufficient; not dependent on others.
Many years later, when Jeffrey was 20 years old, he learned TM and experienced the benefits from meditating. He realised that maybe TM was the one gift that could deeply effect and empower everyone.
A key goal of his philanthropy is to expand the research into TM and give people around the world access to their potential; to unleash their drive so they can impact their own lives and their own communities.
Jeffrey sheds light on his experience working with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who launched TM in the 1950s, which he describes as a defining moment in his life; an experience he thinks about often.
He also expands on a specific philanthropic project his wife, Rona, was passionate about, called Awago. Rona was dedicated to transforming the reality of undervalued and overlooked women. She inspired a group of Ugandan women to become certified teachers of TM.
The team’s mission is to improve the lives of at risk women and girls by teaching them to meditate. Every month, the team visits communities to teach TM to over 150 women – and they also do group meditations at that time. The women in question are primarily single, young, have suffered abuse, drug addiction, sexual trafficking and they live in poor slums, often without running water or electricity.
Jeffrey explains how this intervention transformed the lives of the women and girls they were reaching. The women stopped beating their children; stopped using drugs; stopped prostitution. They found jobs or started entrepreneurial ventures.
Jeffrey goes on to read a note that he received from one of the women who benefited from this programme, which read: “Before TM I was unable to get myself going to find work; I couldn’t even think of working. TM has opened up my mind and helped me think better, and now I have a job selling bananas, and my children are going to school and feeling happy.”
Among his various philanthropic activities, Jeffrey is the Chairman of the Board at Maharishi International University (MIU) – he’s been on the Board for 20 years. He’s very proud of this and he notes how MIU develops the whole person and includes TM as part of the curriculum.
A few years back, Jeffrey’s Foundation agreed to a multi-year pledge to the David Lynch Foundation – a foundation committed to ensuring that every child anywhere in the world who wants to learn to meditate is able to do so. Jeffrey sheds light on a specific community project in Washington DC called The Ark that brings TM to marginalised segments of the local community.
Jeffrey also explains how he aligns business with philanthropy and how TM is integral to his company’s success and operations.
Jeffrey’s key takeaway: He notes that solutions exist for the global issues we’ve discussed. They just need to be implemented by people who care. Change is possible and it always starts with one person. And, Jeffrey has found that for real systemic change to happen it must begin first within each of us. It’s important to reflect on where real sustainable passion comes from. It comes from the fullness of an ever-flowing free heart and soul. Every act counts. There’s always a domino effect to the people you touch with simple generosity and kindness. Do something that drives you, that fills your heart. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Plant a tree; meditate; donate; volunteer. It’s simple. Help put proven solutions to work; make a difference and trust in your goodness.
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