65th Annual Dinner
Fort Worth Club.
With its goal of promoting understanding and respect among ethnic and religious groups, the Multicultural Alliance every year honors individuals for their outstanding contributions to making Fort Worth a more inclusive and compassionate community.
The organization typically honors a single honoree but this year, as part of its 65th anniversary celebration, three people will receive recognition for their contributions to the community and the organization. Marvin Blum and Arnie Gachman will receive the Multicultural Alliance Annual Award and Marcia Pozez Kornbleet Kurtz will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Past annual award winners include journalist Bob Schieffer, Van Cliburn, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, John Avila, president and CEO of Byrne Construction Services, and civic leader Larry Anfin. Former Fort Worth mayors Bob Bolen, Kenneth Barr and Mike Moncrief have also been honorees.
The organization traces its origin to the founding of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1927. The Fort Worth chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews formed in 1951. With the disbanding of the national organization, local board members created an independent non-profit organization with the new name of the Multicultural Alliance.
“In honor of our 65th anniversary, we decided to go back to our roots,” said John Forestner, chairman of the board of the MCA. “The National Council of Christians and Jews began with Jewish leadership so all of our honorees this year are Jewish.”
Blum and Gachman both have been board members for more than 30 years and their leadership helped the organization transition from the National Council of Christians and Jews to the MCA.
“The community contributions of Marcia Pozez Kurtz are wide and varied,” said Dr. Cheryl Gray Kimberling, president of the organization. Her family’s Gates of Chai Foundation has helped bring a diverse group of speakers to the organization’s Interfaith Seminarian Retreat, a key MCA program that helps foster unity and combat prejudice and discrimination, she said.
The organization’s membership includes people of many ethnic groups and religious faiths.
Marvin Blum founded The Blum Firm in 1980 and grew it into a law firm with offices in Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston and Austin and a leader in of estate planning, tax planning, probate, tax controversy, asset protection planning, planning for closely-held businesses, and tax-exempt organizations. The firm is the largest estate planning firm in Texas and the largest boutique firm in the country dedicates to estate planning.
The firm’s team approach to developing creative and customized plans has earned Blum, 61, recognition by several organizations, including Fort Worth Business, which honored him as a Power Attorney. He has been recognized by many other publications and quoted in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times for his expertise on the estate tax.
A native of Fort Worth, he attended Paschal High School and the University of Texas, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and attended law schools. He is a certified public accountant as well as an attorney.
Blum’s many contributions to the community include serving as treasurer of the Texas Cultural Trust and the Miss America Organization. He has served for more than three decades as treasurer of the Fort Worth Symphony. He is also served in leadership roles for the Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities. As a former board president of Trinity Valley School, he has an honorary lifetime membership to that board. Other leadership positions include serving as a board member of the Van Cliburn Foundation and Cook Children’s Medical Center.
His long affiliation with the MCA includes serving as board chairman and treasurer. He and his wife, Laurie, live in Fort Worth
Arnold G. “Arnie” Gachman has been president of Gamtex Industries, the parent company of the family-owned Gachman Metals & Recycling Co., for about 40 years. He has worked for 52 years in the more than 103-year-old scrap metal business that his family has owned and operated through four generations.
Dedicated to the betterment of his industry, Gachman, 72, is a past national president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), which honored him in 2013 with a lifetime achievement award for his leadership in the industry and his dedication to community service. A founding board member of the Texas Cast Metals Association, he has served as vice president of Recycling Coalition of Texas, and chair of Texas Department of Public Safety Metal Theft Advisory Committee.
Like Blum, 74, a graduate of Paschal High School, he earned his bachelor’s degree in financial management at Texas Christian University.
A tireless volunteer, his community involvement includes serving as a board member of Presbyterian Night Shelter of Fort Worth, past chairman of the board of trustees of Baylor All Saints Hospital, chair of the board of governors of the Fort Worth Club and past president of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. A board member for the University of North Jewish Studies program, his is a past chairman of the University of North Texas Health Science Center Foundation, past chairman of the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission and a current director of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. He has also served in leadership roles with Beth El Congregation and Congregation Ahavath Sholom.
He has also served in multiple roles with the MCA for nearly 50 years, He and his wife, Harriette, have two children and four grandchildren.
Marcia Pozez Kornbleet Kurtz
Marcia Pozez Kornbleet Kurtz is known for her overwhelming generosity and her vast contributions to the community.
A tireless fundraiser and philanthropist, Kurtz, 81, is also a gourmet chef and community organizer.
A native of Topeka, Kan., she grew up in a household that grew more crowded as her family took in relatives fleeing the Holocaust in Europe. Her family’s example deepened her empathy and compassion for helping others. Three years after her brother and a cousin founded Payless Shoes in Topeka in 1956, she and her late husband, Larry Kornbleet moved to Fort Worth to expand the shoe store chain across Texas.
Her family foundation created Texas Christian University’s Gates of Chai lecture series, which has brought luminaries such as Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Chaim Potok to Fort Worth.
Organizations she has been involved with include the Fort Worth Symphony League, Moncrief Radiation Center and Jewish Family Services.
Charities that she has supported individually or as president of the Gates of Chai Foundation include the Anti-Defamation League, The Family Place, Fisher House-Veterans Affairs, Jewel Charity-Cook Children’s Hospital, Baylor All Saints Health Foundation, Hadassah, Make A Wish Foundation, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Guardianship Services of Tarrant County, Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County, Lost Chord Club of Tarrant County, Safe Haven of Tarrant County, Congregation Beth-El and the Gates of Chai Lectureship in Jewish Studies at TCU’s Brite Divinity School.
“She brings light to everything she does,” said Bob Goldberg, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County. “Her impact to this community and the state is immeasurable.”
Kimberling said she was chosen for the lifetime achievement award because “all who know her are in agreement that she quietly lives the mission of the Multicultural Alliance.”