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Jonathan Perlman, founder of Tradition Senior Living in Houston & Dallas, TX.

He puts on exciting fundraising events (two a month for the past 25 years before the pandemic), which are typified by 12 performers, sometimes Astros and Rockets cheerleaders, and his own band!  

Alan Helfman’s irrepressible enthusiasm for helping worthy causes has landed him one award after another.  Here’s just one:  the first Lifetime Achievement Award ever given by The Blues Police Magazine just last month.  He’s on the cover. 

Perhaps that award was presented because he has produced over 100 fundraisers and given over $1 million of his own money to the Houston Police Department (HPD) over the years. “My passion for the HPD is helping the widows pay the bills and stay in their homes, helping the guys who are hurt or sick—it’s really good money.”

That’s just one of many Houston charities that he has supported.  One way he consistently helps others is by donating cars.

“My father and mother, Jack and Elaine Helfman, were my inspiration in giving,” said the native Houstonian about the founders of the Helfman car dealership. “They gave away three cars a year.  Last year with the pandemic, I said, ‘Game on!’ and gave away eight—two to the HPD, two to the Houston Fire Department (HFD), one to Houston Methodist Hospital, one to Ronald McDonald House, one to Rice University, and one to the Houston Community College.”  

As president of his family’s group of five Helfman Auto Dealerships—a family affair including the Helfman, Feldman and Wolf families—the gift of cars seems a natural.  But it’s only part of Alan Helfman’s largesse.  He puts on exciting fundraising events (two a month for the past 25 years before the pandemic), which are typified by 12 performers, sometimes Astros and Rockets cheerleaders, and his own band!  “We dance and sing, jump, and three hours later, we’ve raised more than $100,000.” 

Alan Helfman’s irrepressible enthusiasm for helping worthy causes has landed him one award after another.  Here’s just one:  the first Lifetime Achievement Award ever given by The Blues Police Magazine just last month.  He’s on the cover. 

Perhaps that award was presented because he has produced over 100 fundraisers and given over $1 million of his own money to the Houston Police Department (HPD) over the years. “My passion for the HPD is helping the widows pay the bills and stay in their homes, helping the guys who are hurt or sick—it’s really good money.”

That’s just one of many Houston charities that he has supported.  One way he consistently helps others is by donating cars.

“My father and mother, Jack and Elaine Helfman, were my inspiration in giving,” said the native Houstonian about the founders of the Helfman car dealership. “They gave away three cars a year.  Last year with the pandemic, I said, ‘Game on!’ and gave away eight—two to the HPD, two to the Houston Fire Department (HFD), one to Houston Methodist Hospital, one to Ronald McDonald House, one to Rice University, and one to the Houston Community College.”  

As president of his family’s group of five Helfman Auto Dealerships—a family affair including the Helfman, Feldman and Wolf families—the gift of cars seems a natural.  But it’s only part of Alan Helfman’s largesse.  He puts on exciting fundraising events (two a month for the past 25 years before the pandemic), which are typified by 12 performers, sometimes Astros and Rockets cheerleaders, and his own band!  “We dance and sing, jump, and three hours later, we’ve raised more than $100,000.” 

He puts on exciting fundraising events (two a month for the past 25 years before the pandemic), which are typified by 12 performers, sometimes Astros and Rockets cheerleaders, and his own band!  

Much of those funds are raised from the events’ auctions, which are items that Alan has donated from his vast collection (around 20,000) of entertainment and sports memorabilia.  “I try to give some to as many charities as I can.  I have given sports memorabilia to schools to put on the wall, always framed, so the kids can love on it.  Enjoy it.  Or I give to someone in the police who solved a crime.  It makes them happier.”  He works with his sister, Sandi, in helping Jewish Family Services, where she is vice president, and this in turn helps out the community.  And he gives away some item of memorabilia almost every day.

He has been known to persuade hesitant charities that a fundraiser is what they need—he is a salesman by trade, after all.  For example, when he approached Main Street Coalition several years ago (supported at the time by several churches and one synagogue) to produce a fundraiser, the reply was “We don’t do that.” He replied, “Yes—you do now. I will go talk to each church and synagogue to get them on board.” And he did, subsequently producing a fundraiser that generated $30,000.  

For more than 30 years, Mrs. Georgia Provost has assisted him in many of his fund-raising efforts.  “I was 27 and at a fundraiser (he started early) for Constable A.B. Chambers to help put kids through college,” said Alan. “Behind me, I heard a woman talking, crying.  She had just lost her husband. How was she to raise her children and run their photography company? I turn around and asked her, ‘Could I help take care of you?’”

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Much of those funds are raised from the events’ auctions, which are items that Alan has donated from his vast collection (around 20,000) of entertainment and sports memorabilia.  “I try to give some to as many charities as I can.  I have given sports memorabilia to schools to put on the wall, always framed, so the kids can love on it.  Enjoy it.  Or I give to someone in the police who solved a crime.  It makes them happier.”  He works with his sister, Sandi, in helping Jewish Family Services, where she is vice president, and this in turn helps out the community.  And he gives away some item of memorabilia almost every day.

He has been known to persuade hesitant charities that a fundraiser is what they need—he is a salesman by trade, after all.  For example, when he approached Main Street Coalition several years ago (supported at the time by several churches and one synagogue) to produce a fundraiser, the reply was “We don’t do that.” He replied, “Yes—you do now. I will go talk to each church and synagogue to get them on board.” And he did, subsequently producing a fundraiser that generated $30,000. 

For more than 30 years, Mrs. Georgia Provost has assisted him in many of his fund-raising efforts.  “I was 27 and at a fundraiser (he started early) for Constable A.B. Chambers to help put kids through college,” said Alan. “Behind me, I heard a woman talking, crying.  She had just lost her husband. How was she to raise her children and run their photography company? I turn around and asked her, ‘Could I help take care of you?’”  

He promised her a brand-new car every year at whatever price she was paying now. In return, he told her that he could use help in assisting the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Wards in Houston. Since then, she has helped him produce 82 fundraisers for the historically Black college, Texas Southern University, and many other fundraisers, as well.

He is also soft-hearted when it comes to requests for specific needs.  His son, Eric, came to him saying that he had observed a little girl in a wheelchair who couldn’t play in a park. Nothing there accommodated a disabled child.  In November 2019, the Helfman Playground opened for disabled children at Meadow Place.  That little girl plays there now. 

He has answered other calls, including one from John Mendelson, then president of MD Anderson, requesting a skybridge at the cancer center. Multitudes cross over every day now. During the pandemic, he also provided funds for surgery rooms at Methodist and Hermann Memorial Hospitals.  

Other recipients of his giving seem endless … the American Cancer Society; the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (he has raised more than $1 Million over the years); the Helfman Field at Caress Stadium, Emory/Weiner High School (“a family deal”); Houston Baptist University; the International Festival; KNOWAutism (he and his wife are honored at their event just this month); Medicine Without Borders; senior communities—and more.

 Alan is supported in everything by his wife, Renee, and their children Blake, Caitlin, and Eric.  When asked, “Why do you do all this?” he answers, “We have been blessed, and I have been inspired to give back to the community.”  

One senses that there is something else behind his giving. He is having great fun.  

Linda Faulkner Johnston—The Tradition

He promised her a brand-new car every year at whatever price she was paying now. In return, he told her that he could use help in assisting the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Wards in Houston. Since then, she has helped him produce 82 fundraisers for the historically Black college, Texas Southern University, and many other fundraisers, as well.

He is also soft-hearted when it comes to requests for specific needs.  His son, Eric, came to him saying that he had observed a little girl in a wheelchair who couldn’t play in a park. Nothing there accommodated a disabled child.  In November 2019, the Helfman Playground opened for disabled children at Meadow Place.  That little girl plays there now. 

He has answered other calls, including one from John Mendelson, then president of MD Anderson, requesting a skybridge at the cancer center. Multitudes cross over every day now. During the pandemic, he also provided funds for surgery rooms at Methodist and Hermann Memorial Hospitals.  

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Other recipients of his giving seem endless … the American Cancer Society; the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (he has raised more than $1 Million over the years); the Helfman Field at Caress Stadium, Emory/Weiner High School (“a family deal”); Houston Baptist University; the International Festival; KNOWAutism (he and his wife are honored at their event just this month); Medicine Without Borders; senior communities—and more.

Alan is supported in everything by his wife, Renee, and their children Blake, Caitlin, and Eric.  When asked, “Why do you do all this?” he answers, “We have been blessed, and I have been inspired to give back to the community.”  

One senses that there is something else behind his giving. He is having great fun.  

Linda Faulkner Johnston—The Tradition

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