May 6, 2014
After Phil died in 1991, we decided to create the Phil Zwickler Charitable and Memorial Foundation Trust.
Our goals were simple: we would self-fund, have at least one non-family member as a trustee, keep expenses down,
and distribute grants to individuals/organizations that Phil would be proud of. We are happy to report that as of
December 2013 about 95% of the money donated to the foundation has come from the trustees, we have funded a wide
variety of great individuals/organizations, kept expenses low and still have money in the bank. Thank you Seymour, Caren and Jeff.
In December 2013, Michael Levine, the husband of Caren Zwickler Levine died at age 50, after a long fight with leukemia.
In his final year, he repeatedly told us that when he died he wished that those who were inclined to donate money in
his honor, give their funds to the foundation. Michael was not a trustee, but he cared deeply about Phil, he was
like a brother to me and in many ways reminded me of Phil. Like Phil, he loved to help young people and his greatest
passion was music.
With the help of my daughter Randi Zwickler, and our web guru Deborah Chow, we solicited external funds on Michael's
behalf with a tab on our home page to Pay Pal. The response was gratifying. We immediately set out to identify a
grantee that matched Michael's passions. In last year's letter we wrote about working on a project with University
Settlement House (USH), a long time grantee. After a short discussion among the trustees, USH became the obvious
choice as "The Door," a part of USH is primarily focused on troubled teenage kids. The Door has many programs to
nurture this population, such as obtaining a GED (see the USH web page for a GED success story). In addition, one of The
Door's primary focuses is on arts and music. A recent newsletter (see the grant page) highlights such programs. What a match...
We solicited a proposal from the Door and in early 2014 we funded a music program. Please visit our grant page to
read about the specifics about the grant. I know Phil and Michael are smiling.
In other news, during 2013 Jeff and Andrea Silver matched our yearly donation to Cornell University. The Cornell Fellows
program has been a tremendous success and is sprouting collaborations. For the second year, several of the Fellows
and other young scholars held a workshop/seminar which we funded. Please see the "collaboration" grant page for more details.
Plans are already being made for a year three event this summer. Gil Frank, one of our Fellows, has spearheaded these
seminars and we are proud to help. Also, Jaime Cantrell and Amy Stone (two Fellows) have submitted a 400 page manuscript
of essays from numerous authors to SUNY Press for publication. Let's keep our fingers crossed. We gave both of them
a small grant to help with marketing.
Randi and I walked in the annual AIDS Walk in Central Park. Randi raised a significant amount of money for the cause and
we are proud that she has taken an interest in AIDS related causes. She will again be walking this year, so if you have
a few bucks go to her page and give her a boost.
We are proud to have awarded our second grant for environment causes. The recipient was Dee Boersma, a Distinguished
professor at University of Washington. Dee is the foremost worldwide authority on penguins. What do penguins and the
environment have in common? Dee has spent her entire career proving that penguins have a "sixth sense" for climate changes.
She has enlisted a large number of volunteers to accompany her to Argentina and the Galapagos Islands to better
understand how to preserve these "Ocean Sentinels." We decided to give her a grant to facilitate her work. Please see our
"environment grant" tab for more details. Dee is one of the most passionate people
I have ever met.
As usual, we funded several of our long-time grantees. On a happy note several organizations/film makers have asked to
borrow Phil's film to show at film festivals. Also, we donated to Cornell copies of two recent films, "United in Anger"
and the Academy Award nominee, "How to Survive the Plague."
We are currently in the midst of updating our Website to include several of the programs we fund. We are extremely proud
of our grantees and intend to stick with them. As always, we hope that those of you that have the means look through our
grant page and donate to these grantees. In the meantime, visit our site and listen to Phil's music (go to "About Phil/music").
It is soothing and medicinal.
Until Next Year,
Phil Zwickler Charitable & Memorial Foundation Trust