This article originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Promise magazine.
When colleagues of Philip Kaufmann were challenged to describe him using only three words, the cascade of adjectives that followed included, “Very, very principled; happy, passionate, generous; and intense, focused, enthusiastic.”
Tom Knoll, founding partner of Stark & Knoll, where Phil is a partner and group chair of the firm’s Estate Planning and Probate Group, pulled rank, taking 13 words to get the job done. He described Phil as “one of the most ethical, principled persons and attorneys I have ever met.”
These and other accolades were shared in a tribute video celebrating Phil Kaufmann, honoree of the 2018 Summa Health Golf Outing.
The video echoed sentiments expressed only a month earlier, when Summa Health welcomed Patricia and Philip Kaufmann into the Thomas W. Cornell Philanthropic Leadership Society, a prestigious group reserved for Summa Health’s most generous benefactors.
Well before that defining moment, Phil had distinguished himself as an extraordinary friend of Summa Health during more than a decade of active involvement. He did so with the full support of his wife, Patty, who understands the importance of service and philanthropy in healthcare as a registered nurse at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Phil began his association with Summa Health in 2007 as a member of the Summa Health Foundation board of directors, which he served for 10 years, including the executive committee in later years. He currently serves on the “Caring for You … Then, Now, Always” Campaign Executive Committee. He is an esteemed member of the Summa Health board of directors.
At the time he was honored at the golf outing, Phil already had served on the event’s steering committee for five years, generously sharing his leadership, time and treasure to assure its continued success in supporting advanced training and certifications for Summa Health nurses.
During those five years, Phil joined the Summa Health Behavioral Health Institute Leadership Council as an advocate for the area of care where the Kaufmanns will be recognized for their recent gift. As the inaugural chair of the Summa Health Charles Deering Legacy Advisor Leadership Council, Phil led a diverse group of more than 40 leading legal, financial, estate planning and insurance professionals as ambassadors for the health system.
In 2015, Phil was presented with the council’s Charles Deering Legacy Advisor Leadership Award for outstanding service in promoting charitable giving to Summa Health and inspiring others through his own support of the health system.
“Phil approaches philanthropy as something that’s a part of who and what he is,” said William Ginter, member of the Summa Health Foundation board. “His philanthropy is indistinguishable from his personal and professional life.”
As the parents of a child who is disabled, Patty and Phil know what it is to give and receive unconditional love. Phil describes their son, Christopher, as “absolute joy.” The Kaufmanns’ full, active life together includes extensive travel around the globe.
Inspired by Christopher, Phil has embraced others as well, serving in leadership positions on the state and county boards of developmental disabilities. In addition to his expertise in charitable giving, Phil became a trusted legal advisor in disability trusts and special needs planning. Among his many community honors, Phil was inducted into the Arc Hall of Honor for his significant contributions to the community integration of Summit County citizens who have developmental disabilities.
When asked what he enjoys most about his profession, Phil said, “Helping people set future goals that create a legacy of the life they have lived.”
The legacy of Patty and Phil will live on at Summa Health and far beyond for generations to come.