From the Arava to Austin: How a Friendship Rooted in Love for Israel Bloomed into a Business Partnership
Matthew Fragner and Robert Mintz in Central Arava Desert, Israel. Courtesy: JNF-USA
By JD Krebs
Some friendships are professional. Others are more personal. In the case of Boerne resident, Robert Mintz and California-based Matthew Fragner, their friendship is both, as a deep mutual bond over their affinity for the land and people of Israel also evolved into a successful business partnership in Austin.
Mintz and Fragner first met in 2010 when they became founding members of Jewish National Fund-USA’s Arava Task Force. A crucial part of the organization’s Operation Blueprint Negev initiative, the Task Force is dedicated to building up the Arava to attract residents through philanthropic investments that include agricultural and water projects, rehabilitation centers, housing development sites, jobs programs and bomb shelter construction and beautification.
As Mintz and Fragner worked for and supported the dizzying array of projects, they also gained a greater appreciation for each other’s professional attributes. “We have had the wonderful experience of working with one another on issues near and dear to our hearts for more than 10 years,” Fragner, who still serves as Chair of the Arava Task Force, said. “We became close friends during meetings, multiple trips to Israel and at national conferences. Our families have become friends as well and we travel together.”
For Jewish National Fund-USA Chief of Staff, Tali Tzour, Mintz and Fragner’s support has not gone unnoticed. “The dedication, loyalty, and support of Matt Fragner and Robert Mintz for Israel through Jewish National Fund-USA, and especially in the Arava region is exceptional,” she said. “When I watch Matt and Rob meeting and speaking with people from the Arava, I see an expression of pure appreciation and love. Matt and Robert are true assets of our philanthropic movement and I feel blessed to know and work closely with them.”
Mintz and Fragner, both real estate and corporate law attorneys, soon realized that it would be mutually beneficial to merge their practices and work together. So, a partnership was born and Fragner’s firm was renamed to Fragner Seifert Pace & Mintz, which has an office in Austin as well as in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
“If it’s one thing I have discovered, it’s that people want to work with people they trust, admire, and with whom they share values,” Mintz said. “Meeting Matt, traveling with him to Israel and serving on JNF-USA’s leadership task force, together sealed the deal that we would and should one day end up as law firm partners.”
“I am pleased that Rob has joined our bi-coastal law firm and added his Midwest flair to our group. He is an exceptional person and attorney, and has a deep roster of corporate, investment fund, and financial institution clients. I look forward to working together professionally as well as on Jewish National Fund-USA projects,” Fragner added.
Now, as close personal friends and business partners, the duo feels like they can take on anything together. “Our partnership was seeded in a long journey that began at Jewish National Fund-USA in 2010,” Mintz said. “Our friendship bloomed through our work on the Arava Task Force, our stalwart commitment to Israel and with good humor working on important and transformative projects. Today, our families, communal service and yes, our practices, have joined unbreakable forces.”
To learn more about the Arava Task Force, contact Tali Tzour at TTzour@jnf.org.
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