By Dale King
An old adage states: “Charity begins at home.”
That’s true, of course. But Jerry and Lucy Spielman, president/publisher and editor-in-chief, respectively, of Boca’s Best Magazine and the two City News Group publications that serve Coral Springs/Parkland and Coconut Creek/Margate, believe charity, caring and friendship unfolds when you reach out to people and organizations, determine their needs and help supply them.
Each Spielman periodical offers its own individual, hyperlocal slice of news and specialty features such as a pet section, legal advice, health tips, a dining guide, columns by local officials, fitness suggestions, financial guidance and tax assistance.
Since acquiring the City News Group in November 2015, the Spielmans – who brought with them lots of business savvy, but little experience in the field of publishing — have taken the magazines to a new level of sophistication and reader appreciation by applying personal rules and tenets of their own.
To truly serve each community, the Spielmans felt they must be part of the goings-on. For that reason, they began sponsoring events that serve local groups. They have also taken part in a number of civic and community activities, putting their own names and sponsorship support behind fundraisers.
City News Coral Springs/Parkland, City News Coconut Creek/Margate and Boca’s Best Magazine are mailed out to more than 66,000 homes and businesses within the aforementioned region, said Jerry. “Thousands more are distributed around the area at select locations, fairs and city events. These monthly community magazines are filled with local news, activity schedules, a dining guide, an emphasis on ‘charitable causes’ and a roster of local ‘heroes,’ along with many more items of interest to the locals.”
With a degree in marketing from Syracuse University and a Masters BA from Barrington University, Jerry has taken that talent on the road again, meeting with business execs, talking the talk with members and leaders of civic organizations and rubbing elbows with influential residents at Chamber breakfasts, Rotary lunches and fundraising dinners.
When he’s not out and around in the community, Jerry is in charge of sales. “He’s an amazing sales and marketing guy,” noted Lucy. “Charity is a very important part of our magazine group,” said Lucy, who works in the real estate field while also providing the creative oomph to their local-oriented media. Her roster of tasks is lengthy, including putting the magazine together, handling payroll, payments and reconciliations and dealing with all financial aspects of the company.
Originally from Peru, she studied banking and finance at an upscale private university in her native country. While her husband enjoys getting out and mingling, Lucy said she prefers “to say in the office running the magazine.”
“We are devoted to trying to make the world a better place, community by community,” she said. “In addition to distributing thousands of print copies of the magazines, we use the Internet and the technological advances of the new digital age to offer a responsive website with the ability to reach so many more people all over the world.”
“We are trying to do our part to help make the world a little better place,” Lucy noted. “For example, our love of animal rescue organizations that operate all over our community has enabled us to give a free quarter-page ad, each and every month, in all three of our magazines, to both Tri-County Animal Rescue in Boca Raton and the Florida Humane Society in Broward, to help raise awareness of these two very important and popular rescue efforts. We do whatever we can do — and then we do even more.”
“In another effort to reach out to the community, Jerry and I have joined the Boca Raton Rotary Club. For those of you who do not know what the Rotary Club stands for, its motto is ‘Service above self.’ For more than 110 years, the Rotary’s guiding principles have been the foundation of their values: service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership.”
“Also, we are active in more than six local Chambers of Commerce and we participate in as many local charitable causes and events as we can. The only limit on our ability to serve others is a time and money restraint. What events we showcase, causes we profile and the good we do, is only a small part of what we all can do overall to help others. We will strive to do more and more with each and every magazine we publish. Comments, ideas, stories, events, causes are all welcome on our site.
“Donations are appreciated and acknowledged,” Lucy added. “We are looking for sponsors to help us expand our charity section by helping to pay some of our production costs so we can free up more pages for good deeds. Many of our local events are open to all who wish to participate or just contribute.”
Jerry explained the purpose and design of the Spielmans’ three monthlies. “Instead of providing one big magazine, we offer three local publications geared to the individual community. We do not overwhelm readers with pages and pages of ads for the same industry, like real estate or legal.”
The Spielmans single out residents who have gone above and beyond to help others. They recently published an article about PROPEL — People Reaching Out to Provide Education and Leadership. It was founded in 2004 by real estate investors and philanthropists Jim and Marta Batmasian, a Boca couple that has donated millions of their dollars to philanthropic causes. To Jerry and Lucy, the Batmasians are models for charitable community leaders.
So is Gregory Fried, owner of a Delray Beach jewelry store and leader in some 60-plus charities. He was recently featured in a Boca’s Best story entitled, “The Charity Man.”
“Hats off to Rosemary and Ben Krieger, who sponsored us in the Rotary of Boca Raton. They personify what it means ‘to give,’” the Spielmans noted in a recent edition.
The Spielmans themselves are no slouches, distributing over 330 free Disney on Ice tickets to needy kids in 2017 and over $10,000 in new clothing to kids and charities.
As you thumb through copies of Boca’s Best and City News, you’ll find the Spielman touch. They sponsor ads urging residents to adopt puppies, kittens, dogs and cats at rescue shelters. They urge readers to support Unicorn Village Academy in West Boca, a school for children with neurodiversities, age 13-22, unable to succeed in regular school setting.
Earlier, in June, City News sponsored and featured the Lisa Boccard Broward Health Walk for Breast Cancer in their City News Magazines.
On Aug. 19, they sponsored a “Brunch, Bubbles & Blooms” fundraiser to benefit the HabCenter. They are sponsoring a City of Coral Springs “Golfing for the King” classic Oct. 20 at Carolina Country Club in Margate to benefit the Martin Luther King Scholarship Fund for financially needy children. Later, on Nov. 11, they have organized a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Walk at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek to benefit that group. There are too many others to list them all.
Lucy and Jerry don’t just help the community, they are part of it. They live in West Boca with their three teenage sons and two dogs.