2008 was a great year for our foundation. Our goal of building collaborations between existing recipients of our grants and other recipients and/or new organizations hit a high note. The merger of Village Care with the Momentum Project was monumental. Spearheading the effort were three people we have supported for years; Dawn Bryan, the heart and soul of Momentum, Emma DeVito, who because of this merger and her numerous other tireless efforts recently became CEO of Village Care, and Frank Oldham, the Executive Director of NAPWA, who was on the board of both Momentum and Village Care. The merger was a wonderful example of working together for a common cause during what has arguably been the most difficult period in non-profit fund raising.
Another highlight was the acquisition by New York University (NYU) of the extraordinary 6,100 hour film library of the Gay Cable Network. NYU was my graduate school alma mater and is where I teach a Finance class in its School of Continuing Education. In 2008, I was introduced to Louis Maletta, the creator and guardian of this valuable collection. Lou is an old friend of Phil's. Lou and I brainstormed for many hours about how to preserve one of the largest and most vivid examples of the Gay Rights movement. Starting in the 1980's, Lou videotaped demonstrations, events, etc. which included countless movie stars, politicians and leaders of all kinds. The videotapes were being kept in a small office in mid town Manhattan. Most are on dilapidated tapes and are in urgent need of preservation. Through the tireless help of my old friend Marvin Taylor, curator of NYU's Fales Library, and NYU Dean of Libraries Carol Mandel, we struck a deal to move this priceless collection of "Human Rights" information to a safe, secure home at NYU. Our foundation made a gift to NYU in honor of this event and intends to help them locate donors to maintain this collection.
Another important event was a special dinner hosted by St. Vincent Hospital, commemorating its 20 years as a Comprehensive Aids Center. The event honored 20 "Compassionate Champions" of HIV/AIDS. Sharen Duke of AIDS Service Center NYC (ASC) and Village Care were 2 of the 20 honorees. Other notable honorees included Hillary Clinton and the guest speaker was Kenneth Cole. The honorary chairperson of the event was New York City's Council President Christine Quinn a friend of our foundation for many years. I unfortunately could not attend, but a wonderful friend and Executive Director of another foundation went to the event. I had previously introduced him to Sharen and he has since offered her support and valuable insights. He publishes a bi-monthly magazine filled with articles mainly written by his "clients" young, immigrant kids who are college bound. I wrote an article in a recent edition, which I can provide to those interested; the topic was non-profit collaboration.
During the summer, we provided ASC with intern money for a young woman who is a recent honor student graduate from Binghamton University, my undergraduate alma mater. She had performed some volunteer work at other AIDS organizations, but in her words the ASC work experience was "an eye opener". She escorted patients/clients to medical visits and quickly became a valuable helper. She continues to volunteer and is in the process of deciding between a Masters Degree or going to Medical School.
The above examples are just a few reasons why our foundation continues to "prosper" emotionally. We continue to "invest" record amounts of money in organizations that are run by smart people who "get it". Please visit our site for examples. We are always on the look-out for a few more. In fact, 2009 has started strong with a few new projects under way.
In a January 2006 article in "Best Life" magazine the same Kenneth Cole that I mentioned earlier was quoted as saying "We all have AIDS". He goes on to say, "Before 1985, if you discussed AIDS, you were assumed to be either Haitian or gay or an intravenous drug user. Being a single male designer, you know what I was presumed to be."
Today, Cole is the Chairman of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (www.AMFAR.org). He finished the above article by saying "running a company, leading a non-profit and raising two young kids (now three) with his wife, Maria Cuomo, requires major multitasking.
We all understand how hard it is to juggle our lives, but until a cure is found for HIV/AIDS we must keep pushing...
Very truly yours,
Phil Zwickler Charitable & Memorial Foundation Trust