Categories: Donor Story



Sylvia BankoffSylvia Bankoff had a wealth of talents, of intelligence, of drive, of family and friends, of commitment to community, of passion for many causes. It was this kind of wealth she wisely invested, multiplied and generously bestowed. Even though she passed on June 17, 2008, at the age of 90, her legacy will live on through her family, friends, and institutions she cared about – including the Unity Foundation.

Sylvia had a nose for opportunities to do good and saw the Unity Foundation as an important tool. At Unity, we were always amazed at Sylvia’s uncanny ability to see immediate needs and yet comprehend the long-range perspective. She was both empathetic and entirely practical. She was always on the leading edge of philanthropy, and she understood the potential benefits of charitable giving better than anyone else we know.  Very few utilized Unity as much or as well as she did. 

We experienced her deft skills right from the beginning of our professional relationship. As she was completing her MBA at the University of Chicago (at age 65!), the concept of endowments was practically unknown here. But she realized the crucial need for an endowment at Sinai Temple, and led the effort to create and nurture one. She perceived the value of education and setting an example for younger generations when she formed an advisory committee of young and old for the Milton and Sylvia Bankoff Memorial Foundation. She also established the Milton L. Bankoff Award, in memory of her late husband, Dr. Milton Bankoff, which shined a spotlight on the role of individual effort in the betterment of society – just as Milt and Sylvia did during their lifetimes.

Sylvia’s and Milt’s work will continue to reveal itself year after year, to unfold generation upon generation. We can never estimate the total worth of their contribution to our lives and our community. But we can say with certainty that Sylvia and Milt’s rich legacy was always given with love and devotion, and given to the fullest. 

In recognition of Sylvia’s long service as an Honorary Board Member and Investment Committee member, the Unity Foundation Board of Directors made a generous addition to the Sinai Sunday Evening Forum Endowment Fund held by Unity. 

Click here to visit the fund page for the Milton and Sylvia Bankoff Memorial Foundation Fund.
Click here to visit the fund page for the Bankoff Family Fund For The Sinai Sunday Evening Forum.

Related Posts

  • Published On: June 1st, 2023

    MICHIGAN CITY, IN —Unity Foundation of La Porte County is accepting applications online for its 2023 Community “Power for Good” Grants through Friday, July 21. Organizations may apply for up to $5,000 to fund projects that strengthen La Porte County in meaningful ways. Eligible applicants include nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations located in or serving La Porte […]

  • Published On: March 15th, 2023

    LA PORTE COUNTY, IN — Two local leaders are serving on the 2023 Board of Directors for the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance (IPA). Maggi Spartz, President of Unity Foundation of La Porte County was elected as Chair of the IPA board for 2023.  She has served on the board for eight years and on various committees. […]