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Fetterman honored for contributions to community

Jason Wong
Published Date:
Feb 11, 2016

Fetterman honored for contributions to community

 By Jason Wong  |  Trusted Professional Staff

Not everyone has the chance to combine a rich, established professional career with a deeply personal mission, but Allen L. Fetterman did, and for that, he received the 2015 Michael H. Urbach, CPA, Community Builders Award.

Fetterman, who earned his CPA license in 1973 and is a member of the NYSSCPA’s Rockland Chapter, used his experience to consolidate two synagogues—his own, Temple Beth Torah of Nyack, and Temple Beth El of Spring Valley—just in time to keep the former from dissolving due to lack of membership.

Already a volunteer with the United Way of Rockland County and a member of the Society’s Not-for-Profit Organizations Committee, Fetterman was driven to save Temple Beth Torah in large part because of its long-standing commitment to the community. Had the synagogue dissolved, its multitude of programs would have vanished with it. The consolidation has given the community more than the sum of its parts.

“We are both welcoming communities for interfaith couples and the LGBT community, and we hold interfaith services every year,” said Fetterman. “We have programs for the community at large like concerts, book readings, etc., and we have a program to house the homeless. Each synagogue served as more than just a place for members to congregate; their loss would’ve had a significant detrimental effect on the community.”

The synagogue that grew out of Fetterman’s efforts is a newly formed 501(c)(3) entity called The Reform Temple of Rockland.

He said that such plans can take two years to come to fruition, but that hard work on the part of both sides allowed it to come together in only eight months. “Each congregation approved the agreement by an overwhelming majority,” added Fetterman.

“Without Allen’s leadership, financial insight and strategic considerations…the entire congregation may have lost their second home,” wrote David M. Rottkamp, an audit partner at Grassi & Co., in Fetterman’s nomination letter. “This merger has brought new opportunities to the entire congregation and ensures that the future will be brighter for all.”

The award, now in its 12th year, recognizes New York CPAs who have demonstrated excellence in board leadership of nonprofit organizations and community service. It is named for the late Michael H. Urbach, a former NYSSCPA member and the first CPA to serve as the New York state commissioner of taxation and finance. The award is cosponsored by the NYSSCPA and the New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc. (NYCON).

Fetterman believes that everybody should become involved with charitable work. “I urge all CPAs to serve on at least one not-for-profit board or committee,” he remarked. “And I’ve said this for many years—when you volunteer your time for a not-for-profit, you get back more than you give. You work with dedicated, devoted people, and your time will play a role in helping some segment of society and improving the lives of people.”

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