A Tale of Two Dads

on in Nonprofit

In 1981, two college kids inspired by their desire to right burning social wrongs formed the nucleus of what became Cause Effective.

So young – young enough not to know they might fail – or that fear of failure could/should deter their attempt. Why would it matter if they flopped, when in the process they’d be helping to end world hunger and create a society with more opportunity for all?

Founders, founders, founders… to this day involved in the fight for social justice.

And to this day, inspired by their dads.


Jeff Trachtman (Cause Effective’s first board chair)’s father Gil Trachtman passed away last week, one day short of his 87th birthday. Gil’s lifelong passion for justice and equity, and mentorship as the longtime director of the School Psychology Program at New York University, inspired generations of students to go into school psychology to serve as advocates and change agents for kids and families. And inspired Jeff, too.



Ted Geier (Cause Effective’s first executive director)’s father Walter Geier is still making waves at 89 – the 1966 founding of WIBO (Workshop in Business Opportunities) just one of many demonstrations of his abiding dedication to social equity and leveling the economic playing field. Including inspiring Ted’s unwavering commitment to social causes.

How often, for those of us in the nonprofit universe, did our values begin at home…did the meaning we get from making a difference become deeply embedded by those so familiar to us?

It's worth taking a step back, every now and then, and acknowledge the generation that's in the process of passing; the social workers, educators, and yes, businesspeople who had a real passion for helping others outside themselves and their families. 

Who understood that the world was, or should be, their family.

Gil and Walter, Cause Effective belongs to you. For coming up with an emergency $1,000 when our first special event nearly put the organization under, way back when…and for your never-ending demonstration that a life defined by an ever-present shouldering of our responsibility for the health and well-being of others, is a life well-lived.

We claim those values today, in Cause Effective’s fourth decade, and carry on mindful of our legacy, and of Jeff’s and Ted’s. 

Thank You – Gil and Walter.

And Thank You – to all our parents who demonstrate, by their accumulated actions and vision, that making a difference in the world…matters at home.


(Left Photo credit for Gil Trachtman: Trachtman family)

(Right Photo credit for Walter Geier: Christian Mushenko)

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