Yevrah Ornstein Foundation

23 May 23

An American born Queenstown local of over 20 years, Yevrah Ornstein sadly passed in June 2021, but has made considerable donations to a number of charities as well as leaving a lasting legacy.

From New York to California, Yevrah spent many years immersing himself in various industries across the US – political science, philosophy, education, arts and construction. While exploring many different avenues, Yevrah found a passion for travel and developed a desire to live in New Zealand. He writes in his final notes before his passing that he was “often drawn by the calibre of the people [he] met while exploring and traversing the country, ever appreciative of its prodigious natural beauty and variety” – qualities New Zealand is renowned for.

“In those early visits I was struck by New Zealanders innate sense of stewardship – many years before this term was adopted for quality of caring for the natural environment. I felt a deep resonance with Kiwi’s love of the land and her seas, ever drawn to calling it home.”

Over the years, Anderson Lloyd worked closely with Yevrah before his passing. While he was alive, Kerry O’Donnell, a partner at AL, assisted Yevrah in setting up a foundation and charitable trust under his name – The Yevrah Ornstein Foundation and The Yevrah Ornstein Charitable Trust. Since his death, Kerry and AL’s estate’s manager, Sarah Swale, have worked closely with the trustees Peter Thodey and Kris Lukasziwicz to carry out Yevrah’s vision and legacy.

Upon his death, a substantial portion of his assets was put into his charitable trust for New Zealand based charities, in keeping with Yevrah’s aim of “serving and protecting children in NZ” by providing annuity payments on an ongoing basis. In addition, significant assets were placed into his Foundation for distributions to offshore charities and non-profits supporting environmental and animal welfare causes, including a recent large contribution of over US $650,000 to PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA continue to make remarkable progress in the fight against animal cruelty and have reached many milestones over the past 18 months; including shutting down a monkey laboratory and seizing more than 100 owl monkeys, as well as running a successful campaign for Miami Seaquarium to release an orca named Lolita from her tank of over 50 years, to a seaside sanctuary in Washington state.

PETA “are honoured and humbled by Mr. Ornstein’s wonderful, and transformational gift” and have intentions to put it towards their continued efforts for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service “to stop approving companies’ false animal welfare claims, like ‘humanely raised’ or ‘raised in a stress-free environment.'”

In his final notes, Yevrah wrote “alongside my passion [for] environmental issues resided my always-present reverence for education — be it educating people about the climate crisis along with protecting that we were endowed with by virtue of being stewards of the natural environment. The charities I have chosen are doing an excellent job protecting and serving children as well as nature.”

Yevrah left a sincere message to his chosen causes in his final notes – “Keep up with the excellent work you are doing on behalf of us all – and thank you.”

PDF version: here.