We are most appreciative when individuals choose to make contributions to mark a rite of passage, an important date or a life well lived. The RFC welcomes inquiries from individuals interested in creating similar tributes to those described here. The RFC is honored to be the recipient of such an out-poring of generosity and pleased that this support will benefit future generations of the progressive community.
In March 2008, Muriel Sobelman-Jencks established an annual grant of $1000 in memory of her husband, Clinton E. Jencks (1918-2005), “El Palomino,” organizer for United Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, Local 890. Clinton played himself in “Salt of the Earth,” the only American film to be blacklisted. The movie depicted the McCarthy era strike by New Mexico zinc miners and the struggle of women to achieve equality, and became one of 400 motion pictures selected by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry. This annual grant is designated to assist children of workers who have been penalized, injured, fired, jailed or have died for their organizing efforts to build unions, improve working conditions and elevate living standards for all in the work force. The Fund was renamed the Clinton and Muriel Jencks Fund after Muriel's passing in 2017 to honor her life along with Clinton's. Anyone who wishes to donate to the Jencks Memorial Fund should indicate that designation when making a contribution to the RFC.
In the fall of 2007, the RFC announced a named fund established by a most generous couple as a tribute to their son. The Ozzy Klate Memorial Fund (OKMF) of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, will provide a minimum of $1500 annually to support one or more of the RFC's spring grants. The OKMF founders have established the following criteria: The awards will provide for one or more teenagers who have demonstrated motivation, dedication, inspiration and productivity in the creative arts and progressive social thought, action and spiritual liberation. Whenever possible the fund will benefit teenagers or programs in Western Massachusetts. Anyone who wishes to donate to the OKMF should make a check payable to the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, 1500 Main Street, Suite 1800, Springfield, MA 01115 and write "Ozzy Klate Memorial Fund" in the memo line on the bottom left-hand corner of the check.
The Herman Warsh Memorial Fund was announced in the spring of 2006. Herman was one of Robert Meeropol's initial supporters when Robert was launching the RFC. Herman and his wife, Maryanne Mott, generously helped the RFC in its infancy and remained steadfast supporters. Following Herman's death, Maryanne established this award in his memory. Each fall, one RFC grant will receive support from the Herman Warsh Fund. Anyone who wishes to donate to the Herman Warsh Fund should indicate that designation when making a contribution to the RFC.
In December 2005, Edith Ziefert, the widow of George Ziefert, established the first endowed memorial fund in the RFC's history. This fledgling endowment has been buoyed by two substantial contributions from the Ziefert family and has been supplemented by numerous other donations from family friends. Following Edith's passing in November 2010, her name was added to the Fund as well. The Edith and George Ziefert fund is one family's way of honoring their relatives by continuing their legacy of support for progressive ideals. We are deeply grateful for this generosity. Anyone who wishes to donate to the Edith and George Ziefert Fund should indicate that designation when making a contribution to the RFC.
“Our parents, Moish and Lillian Antopol, were hounded by the FBI for labor organizing and Communist Party activities promoting human brotherhood, justice and world peace. All of that was considered subversive during our childhood years from the 1940s through the early 1960s. Our father’s imprisonment occurred before we were born (his cell-mate, also a labor organizer during the Depression, was our mother’s brother who arranged a blind date at a Communist Youth Organization rally). The memories of our childhood experiences enable us to empathize with the families helped by the RFC. We understand the pressures of living under government scrutiny and illegal surveillance. In our blue-collar family, the blacklist caused constant financial insecurity. Our parents did not intend for us to sense their defiance and fear, to feel isolated in our neighborhood, to get indigestion when FBI agents barged in at dinner times, to learn wariness or to shoulder the terrible burden of keeping dangerous secrets. With gratitude, we remember sharing ongoing support with our family’s brave and generous comrades and the freedom of being with their children. We cherish enduring images of our mother leading songs, our father leading discussions, and the fun we had at Party picnics. Our lives have honored our parents’ values. With this fund in our parents’ memory we carry forward our legacy to another generation of activists who continue the struggle for freedom, justice and peace.” - the Antopol family
Anyone who wishes to donate to the Moish and Lillian Antopol Memorial Fund should indicate that designation when making a contribution to the RFC.
In late 2019, Harry Flemming’s daughter and son-in-law established this fund in his memory to make it possible for children and grandchildren of prisoners to visit their incarcerated loved ones. As they explain, “Dad was a high school student in 1927 when he was sentenced to thirty years in prison for defending himself and his friends from an armed attack. After serving twelve years he was pardoned by the governor. During his years in prison he saw his family very infrequently because it was so expensive and so far away to visit.
After release, Dad became a union organizer and a lifelong, outspoken social activist in California. He was a devoted father and friend. He loved to read the newspaper, speak Spanish and play the banjo. Although he had scars from the trauma of his years in prison, he told us that he had a happy and satisfied life. We’re so grateful our father survived and thrived despite his unjust incarceration and resulting isolation. We hope grants from the Flemming Fund will allow other children to remain connected to their loved ones in prison and help their parents/grandparents live similarly full and satisfying lives.” Anyone who wishes to donate to the Flemming Fund should indicate that designation when making a contribution to the RFC.