Announcement Date: September 16, 2013
The following story was published on Thomson ONE:
DONOR OF THE DAY
The Foundation That Just Keeps Giving
Alan Feldman Carries Out a Family Legacy Working with the Jack Martin Fund
By MELANIE GRAYCE WEST Sept. 16, 2013 9:06 p.m. ET
Alan Feldman is carrying forward his family’s charitable legacy, but with the help of many others.
Mr. Feldman, 72 years old, is the president of the Jack Martin Fund, a fundraising group for Mount Sinai Medical Center. He is the nephew of the late Jack Martin, who died of polio of the throat some 60 years ago. Mr. Feldman’s parents, Gus and Vita Feldman, started the fund to memorialize Mrs. Feldman’s brother.
This month, the fund made a grant of $1.5 million toward the renovation of the Jack Martin Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology unit at Mount Sinai. It brings the fund’s total giving to the unit to $6 million, and its total contribution to Mount Sinai to $30 million.
The fund’s original purpose was to support a respiratory center at the hospital, where Jack was treated. But over the years, and as the threat of polio waned, the fund moved its focus to an outpatient clinic for people with HIV and AIDS, which is still in operation.
The fund has also supported a diabetes clinic for children, medical research and education, the renovation of a blood bank, a clinic for the detection of cervical cancer and student scholarships. The fund is now primarily focused on pediatric cancer.
As the garment industry moved out of the city, the fund began attracting fresh donors. Mr. Feldman got involved in the charity and took over some 20 years ago. He phased out the organization’s annual gala dinner in favor of a golf tournament—which this year raised around $275,000—and he and others recruited new donors from the financial services industry.
Mr. Feldman admits it’s a challenge to keep the fund going, but it has been operating so long “it’s a shame to stop.” A new generation of younger donors—a fourth generation—is now bolstering the fund. The organization’s board includes more than 20 people and Mr. Feldman runs all operations out of his office. There are no paid employees and no corporate sponsors; every dollar raised goes directly to Mount Sinai.
Mr. Feldman, a senior vice president in wealth management at UBS, says that the fund’s twists and turns in funding follow the needs of the hospital and the interests of the donors, which now extend well beyond the family and its original base of supporters from the garment district. (Mr. Feldman’s father was a dress manufacturer.)
Though the Jack Martin Fund has grown well beyond Mr. Feldman’s family, there is still a connection to the past.
“I was brought up in a family that was charitable,” explains Mr. Feldman. “Putting time and energy into this, to me, was a way of life…. Not being involved would have been more difficult. This is the way I was brought up.”
Write to Melanie Grayce West at firstname.lastname@example.org
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