2015 Year-End Message

The Rosenberg Fund for Children turned 25 this year. The success of this organization, which my father created from the nightmare he experienced as a child, would not have been possible without the thousands of individuals committed to supporting the children of targeted activists. I am honored by the trust my father has placed in me to carry forward his and my grandparents’ legacy, and am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to stand with our beneficiaries. But I am also concerned.

We’ve dug deep and awarded $370,000 in grants this year. That brings the total granted in our history to almost $6 million! Unfortunately, the need has grown. More children are at risk and activist families are counting on you to help today.

2015 saw a continued groundswell of grassroots organizing as people took to the streets to demand an end to police violence, real action on climate change, meaningful reform of our broken immigration system and a living wage for all workers. All too often, they were met with harsh, militarized reprisals. And anyone following this election circus has seen the possibility of a grim future, especially for those resisting repression, and their children.

This prospect is alarming. Already in several cases, the RFC is aiding multiple generations of a single family. Some of our earliest beneficiaries have grown up and had kids of their own, been targeted as activists themselves, and sought our aid for their children. It’s distressing that any family would be experiencing repression that extends beyond one generation. But at least the RFC has been there, standing with these families throughout their ordeals. You can help shelter kids like these with a special year-end gift to the Rosenberg Fund for Children.

Here is just one of their stories:

Zaire, Jamila and their siblings grew up in an activist family. As children, police followed them, questioned their neighbors, and raided their home while helicopters circled overhead. That harassment was part of an effort to locate their father, who was in hiding after being targeted by COINTELPRO for his anti-poverty and racial justice efforts. Eventually, their father was captured, tortured, and sentenced to decades in prison. Early RFC grants allowed the younger siblings to visit him in prison. Zaire and Jamila began organizing on behalf of their father and other political prisoners and against mass incarceration. Both lost jobs as a result. RFC awards have provided educational support, childcare and extracurricular programs for the nine children in this extended family, and our Attica grants have allowed two generations to visit Zaire and Jamila’s father in prison.

As RFC supporters, you stand with these brave activists and help protect their vulnerable children. When we come together as a community to assist these families, we’re carrying on a long tradition of resistance that for me is very personal. I grew up hearing stories from my father about the people who knew they risked the loss of jobs, arrest or worse, but still organized to try to save my grandparents.

I celebrated with many of you when, more than 60 years later, these efforts finally helped us win a remarkable victory: proclamations from New York City Council Members and the Manhattan Borough President that “the government wrongfully executed Ethel Rosenberg” and honoring her “life and memory” on what would have been her 100th birthday in September. I know we are equally committed to standing with the next generation of activists and their children.

Your contribution is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. I pledge that 90% of the funds you donate in response to this report will be awarded in current or future grants. Thank you for your support.


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