Dorothy Berman and Pat Binder

Berman and Binder in the 1950s© Courtesy of Jeffrey Berman

Pat Binder and her mother Dorothy Berman in the 1950s.

Dorothy Berman’s headstone reads, “Mother. Wife. Animal Lover.” Her fondness for creatures big and small defined her life and, ultimately, became her legacy.

The daughter of a furrier who immigrated from Eastern Europe, Dorothy was born and raised in New York in the early 20th century—a time when the issues of animal welfare and wildlife conservation were not embraced by the masses. She lived through the Great Depression and never felt as if she had money—despite evidence to the contrary—so she spent very little.

After graduating from Hunter College with a degree in chemistry, Dorothy married and had two children, Jeffrey and Patricia, also known as Jeff and Pat. She enjoyed the arts, including opera and ballet, and loved playing golf.

Despite her minimalist spending tendencies, Dorothy always found a way to support the causes she cared most about. Over the years, she made small gifts to many wildlife conservation organizations and animal rescue groups—from international conservation nonprofits like WWF, to local charities who rescued animals in her community.

She also instilled her love for animals in her children. Both Jeff and Pat were raised with family pets—mostly cats but a few dogs as well, and they both went on to have pets of their own.

“My mother, Dorothy, loved animals. It began with Spitzy, the dog she grew up with in New York. Over time, her love for all creatures grew to be a big part of who my mother was—and something she passed along to me and my sister, Pat. While my mother and sister have passed on, it is fitting that their commitment to making the world a better place for animals endures through their generous support of World Wildlife Fund. ”

Jeffrey Berman
Trustee, Pat Binder Irrevocable Trust

When Dorothy passed in 2009 at the age of 92, she left a sizable estate to her children with the bulk of it left to Pat. When Pat passed away at the age of 66, the trust she had established to honor her mother’s wishes and love for animals, the Pat Binder Irrevocable Trust, saw her inheritance of roughly $2 million passed along to several charities that were important to Dorothy, including WWF.

As her brother, Jeff, explains, “Pat understood that the most fitting way to pay tribute to our mother was to ensure the money was given to those organizations our mother supported throughout her life.”

WWF’s work to protect the future of nature is dependent upon generous gifts like those from the Pat Binder Irrevocable Trust.

“For nearly 60 years, WWF has made it our mission to find solutions that save the marvelous array of life on our planet,” explains Debra Kathman, WWF’s Senior Director of Gift Planning. “We are grateful for this extraordinary gift from Pat Binder—and Dorothy Berman, which will allow us to continue to save populations of the most ecologically, economically, and culturally important species in the wild, all around the world—and, ultimately, help ensure both nature and humanity thrives.”

It is our sincere hope that WWF’s continued success in wildlife conservation is an enduring testament and fitting tribute to the legacies of both Dorothy Berman and Pat Binder.

To learn more about making a legacy gift in support of WWF’s global conservation efforts, please contact WWF at (888) 993-9455 or