Tobian’s Passion for Advocacy Doesn’t Fade With Age

The word “involved” doesn’t scratch the surface to anyone looking at Beverly Tobian’s resume.

Her daughter, Julie Cohn, describes Tobian’s philosophy as, “[living] on the premise that one person can make a difference. She’s seen as a tireless, selfless advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves.”

While she has been recognized for her efforts in women’s rights — most notably with the Maura Women Helping Women Award from the Dallas Women’s Foundation — her interests run a wide gamut.

“Everything that I was involved in, women were involved in it as well,” Tobian said. “I was part of lots of women’s organizations. I had lots of service organizations. I’ve been chairman of boards. While you’re doing these things, you don’t think about them, you just do them.”

Originally from Nebraska, Tobian’s earlier life was spent in the Midwest, until she met her second husband, who originally hailed from Texas. Today, she resides at the Athena in Preston Hollow.

As part of her work with the Women’s Council of Dallas, Tobian rallied a group together to create the Health and Human Services Coalition. The coalition works to keep people aware of changes in programs, funding, and important issues concerning public welfare.

“These things sometimes find themselves because you see a need and you say, ‘what would develop that need?’” Tobian said. “When you recognize it’s going to grow, you find people who are dedicated, and you find people who are interested in the same things.”

While Tobian, 91, admits that she is not as physically active as she used to be, that doesn’t slow down her passion to help others who may not be able to help themselves. Even confined to her wheelchair, she makes a point to meet with each new Dallas city council member, as a part of her dedicated service to the Women’s Issue Network.

One example of her constant dedication to women’s rights was the creation of the Beverly Tobian Young Women’s Leadership Scholarship. As a surprise for her 80th birthday, Cohn decided to give a gift that would allow her mother an opportunity to make a serious impact on one person’s life.

“I wanted to do something that was very important to her,” Cohn said. “At the time, we were looking for an opportunity to mentor a young woman. That was perfect for what her mission was.”

Along with a few of Tobian’s friends, Cohn managed to raise $15,000 from the community. The scholarship was used to allow three women in the nonprofit sector to participate in the Leadership Dallas program, to help train the next generation of women leaders.

Regardless of the issue, give Tobian a cause, and she will do what it takes to find a solution.

“We could not get her insurance company to pay the benefits she had been paying in for 20 years,” Cohn recalled. “Mom fired off a three-page letter to the top people she could find and they reviewed her case. To do that at 90 and still be an advocate is pretty amazing.”

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