2009 was an especially good year to adhere to our philosophy of carefully identifying and
funding a small number of energetic, capable people. An example is Michael Zisser, the
Executive Director of University Settlement (US) and its sister organization The Door. We
have been funding US for 10 Years. In 2010 US is celebrating its 125th birthday. We urge
you to visit their Website to appreciate how they operate. Instead of complaining and
pulling back due to the recession, Michael wrote in The Door's 2009 Annual Report:
"It would be an understatement to say that 2009 was a difficult year for many organizations
like ours; the kind of year when it may make sense to retrench and wait until the worst
blows over. At the Door, we view this environment as one for increased opportunity, a
time to be proactive, not reactive. Not only does our current population need us more
than ever, but we know that the group of young people who may have nowhere else to turn
is growing steadily. As a result, we view this as a time of even greater responsibility,
a time to open our doors even wider."
Another long term success story has been the funding for the last 8 years of the Phil
Zwickler Fellowship program at Cornell University. By the end of 2009, we had funded 23
scholars, each being required to use our award to perform their research at the Human
Sexuality Collection (HSC), housed at Cornell's Division of Rare Books and Manuscripts. During
2009 we had our first repeat winner, which we love to see. In 2010 we received a record number
of applications, and will report on this list next year. The scope of the work and quality
of the winners continues to be remarkable. Brenda Marston, the director of the collection,
created a highly informative Facebook page for HSC. To be awarded a Phil Zwickler fellowship,
the winner is required to write a brief description of the research they accomplished at Cornell.
As part of her letter to us, I quote Whitney Strub, one of the 2009 winners:
"On a personal note, it's an inspiration to me to have received this award, since I'm a great
admirer of Phil Zwickler's life and work. It's my hope that, in my own small way I can contribute
to the goals for which he fought, namely LGBT rights and visibility."
During 2009, three other events were noteworthy. Momentumnow managed by Village Carehad their largest ever Thanksgiving Dinner. We helped fund the event and re-introduced them to a major corporate sponsor. In 2004, we, along with this funder and several others that I solicited, gave money to then traditional Momentum fund raising dinner called "Tastings". In 2010, Momentum will be celebrating its 25th anniversary and we look forward to continue helping them. We also funded an interview with Lou Moletta, the creator of 6100 hours of film, mostly produced under the Gay Cable Network. We introduced Lou to New York University in 2008, who acquired this enormous collection. What is especially noteworthy about the interview (which will appear on our site shortly) is that the person who performed it was Lauren Gutterman, a 2009 Phil Zwickler Cornell fellow. Since winning our fellowship, she has been granted several other prestigious awards including a Woodrow Wilson Women's studies Dissertation Fellowship. Last but not least, we introduced
Sharen Duke of AIDS Service Center (ASC) to Marty Rosen of the Empire State Aids Ride (ESAR). Caren and I knew they would hit it off
instantly and we were not disappointed. For the 2009 ESAR, Marty arranged to have several riders (including her husband)
ride for the benefit of ASC. This year ASC will field its own group of riders, and we intend to actively support
them. They will be the first New York City based organization to be part of Marty's ride. Also, during 2010 the ASC poetry program
will celebrate its 10 year anniversary. Our foundation has supported the program for the past five years.
In recent years, the program, as part of ASC's bimonthly news letter, has contributed a column
called the Phil Zwickler Poetry Corner. One of the poems written by a member of the program is utilized
in the news letter.
Between the various anniversaries being celebrating in 2010, and the new organizations that we are
being introduced to, we already are confident that 2010 will be another great year. To be clear,
we continue to look for new organizations to fund. However, the bar is high, as you must be a long
term thinker, be willing to collaborate, and be a type A person who understands the value of partnerships.
Until Next Year,
Phil Zwickler Charitable & Memorial Foundation Trust