THE 'I-DEAL' LIFE
Joseph Shamie, CEO and President of Delta Children’s Products and a member of Brooklyn’s Sephardic community who has earned wide acclaim for his legendary activism, philanthropy and community involvement, was recently inducted into the first annual Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame.
The Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative (BJHI) honored
10 inductees, including proud Brooklynite, US Senator Chuck Schumer, on October 27, at the Brooklyn Historical Society.
Inductees – hailing from a variety of ethnic, cultural, religious, political and social backgrounds – were honored for their connections to the Brooklyn Jewish community, and their extraordinary contributions. They ranged from social activists, politicians, entertainers, and business leaders.
“BJHI was created to tell the extraordinary story of the Jewish community of Brooklyn, so the world would know,” said Howard Teich, BJHI Founder and Co-chair. He added that the Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame “will recognize the leading Brooklynites who have truly made a difference in the world, and there are many.”
“I was very flabbergasted and humbled, questioning ‘Why me?’” recalled Shamie, describing his reaction upon hearing the news of his induction. “I was actually embarrassed to tell my family and ask them whether I should accept.”
Joseph and his brother, Sam Shamie, are Delta’s third-generation
co-presidents, having transformed the juvenile furniture industry, growing the business into the world’s largest crib manufacturer. Utilizing their unique position in the industry, and continuing their longstanding dedication to philanthropic causes, they created a Safe Sleep video with safety tips to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
“It’s something I’m proud of – what my brother and I call the ‘safe sleep campaign.’ We are on a mission to help educate all parents on safe sleep habits with their children. It’s the Delta Safe Sleep Campaign, and it’s world renowned.”
In addition to this campaign, Delta has donated some 10,000 cribs to the needy. Meanwhile, as a member of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), Joseph helps to create industry standards for children’s safety.
Founded in 1968, Delta has since built a global reputation. Over
30 years ago – around the time of the birth of his first grandchild –
the founder of Delta, Joseph’s father, Louis, took out a patent for a crib that could be built without the aid of tools, hooks or screws.
Delta, which boasts an impressive line of infant furniture, strollers, play yards, and changing tables, has touted itself as an industry leader in affordability and safety.
Joseph works closely with a number of charities related to infants and children, including K.I.D.S., Baby Buggy, The New York Foundling, Inwood House, Angel Fund, Bikur Holim and the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), and also serves on the board of First Candle, a non-profit committed to preventing SIDS in military families, which have a higher rate of SIDS than civilians.
“I am happy that I have the ability to give back, in time and money, and to help other families, and help them thrive,” explained Shamie. “I feel the award is accepted on behalf of the entire community, and all of the philanthropic work that many of my contemporaries do. The community is built by people who have gotten involved, and created so many great institutions. That’s how communities become so successful. I feel I am accepting on behalf of everybody that’s doing that work.”
For his philanthropic work, Shamie has received awards from First Candle, UJA and the Sephardic Community Center.
Shamie also volunteers his time as Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Sephardic Community Center, and is on the board of Project Education. As if that weren’t enough, he has also been for the past two decades a K.I.D.S. board member, working to ensure that all infants have a safe sleep environment. In December 2011, he received the organization’s Humanitarian Award.
In recent years, Shamie’s company donated 400 cribs to homeless families and victims of domestic violence in Brooklyn, and a million dollars’ worth of new Delta cribs to parents in need across the country.
Joseph and his wife, Adrienne, are the proud parents of four children, and have three grandchildren.
When asked what this award means to him, and what message he wants it to impart, Shamie said,
“Just imagine if we all gave a little bit more, how many lives would change. It’s about giving our time and money.”
Joseph Shamie sets an inspiring model of combining business with charity, how commercial success can and must go hand-in-hand
with kindness and concern for other people. His example, which is now being given the recognition it so deserves, challenges us all to work to make the world a better place, each person in his own unique way.
Bio research contributed by Sarina Roffé.