News & Events
From the Executive Director
Today is the 68th anniversary of my grandparents’ execution. But since the start of the year I’ve been more focused on an anniversary we just passed: April 5th marked exactly 70 years since Judge Kaufman sentenced my grandparents to death. Many of you know the nightmare my father and uncle experienced after their parents’ arrest, conviction and execution but this recent milestone has me thinking about the more intangible consequences of the loss of my grandparents and so many others who resisted repression and are still resisting today.
By Tori Montemurro, Granting Coordinator
This spring, six new families received RFC grants, joining 64 families whom the Board funded as renewals, and the Board approved one last grant to fund grocery gift cards for families this cycle. In total, the Rosenberg Fund for Children awarded 71 grants this spring totaling over $205,000. This brings the total granted in our 30+ year history to almost $8 million!
As someone for whom fundraising is an important part of my job, one of the best and most mysterious occurrences is the seemingly out-of-the-blue donation. I always wish I could ask the donor what motivated them to contribute at this particular time or amount. Especially when there is no obvious trigger.
The RFC received one of these donations recently from a new donor, Jonathan. He wasn’t in our database or on our email list and we haven’t mailed any recent appeals, so I had no way of knowing what inspired his gift. I emailed him a thank you and figured that would be the end of the story. Instead, I received the following lovely email from him:
We all know that 2020 was a very difficult year. It featured a raging pandemic fueled by inept leadership, endless police brutality directed at Black and Indigenous people and other people of color, and violent attacks on those protesting these assaults. It also included increasing economic inequality, environmental destruction, and much more, which combined to make many of us look to 2021 for relief.
Guest blog by RFC Founder Robert Meeropol
Six years ago I posted a blog on the RFC website entitled “Strange Convergence” (available here). In it I compared details of the life of my mother, Ethel Rosenberg, to that of Billie Holiday, the singer who made Abel Meeropol’s song, “Strange Fruit,” famous. Ethel and Billie appeared to be an unlikely couple. However, they were both born in poverty in 1915, had excellent singing voices, although Billie’s surpassed Ethel’s, and were precocious. Ethel graduated high school at 15 and helped lead a victorious strike at 19, while Billie sang in Harlem clubs at 17, and was a successful recording artist by 20. And they both got in trouble with the law, which led to their untimely deaths. Finally, there’s the Abel Meeropol connection; Abel adopted Ethel’s children and wrote Billie’s most famous song.