“Hello! This is my first report as Executive Director of the Rosenberg Fund for Children, a job I assumed on September 1st  from the founder and only previous leader of the RFC, my father Robert Meeropol. I’ve had an opportunity to meet many of you over the past six years while I’ve worked as first the RFC’s Granting Coordinator and then the Associate Director. I look forward to getting to know more of you in the years to come.”
That was the introduction to my first-ever Executive Director’s report in the Fall 2013 newsletter, almost exactly 10 years ago today. As I reflect on this anniversary, I’m struck by how much has changed over the past decade while the core of our work has remained consistent.
Since 2013 we launched the Exonerate Ethel campaign, celebrated the RFC’s 25th and 30th anniversaries and went from just under $5 million granted in our history to almost $9 million awarded as of the spring of 2023. We increased our annual granting from $370,000 per year and 150 grants in 2012 to over $410,000 annually and almost 170 grants last year.
We survived both the presidency of Donald Trump and a global pandemic, managed to pivot from working normal business hours in an office to an almost entirely remote workplace while maintaining a high quality of care for our grantees. We added a major, well-received granting program by offering grocery gift cards to our beneficiary families for multiple granting cycles during the first few years of the COVID-19 crisis, awarding over $75,000 to meet beneficiaries’ most basic needs.
One thing my dad and I have in common is our love of numbers, which comes in handy as the RFC’s Executive Director. I decided to quantify some highlights of my last 10 years in the job, which include:
- The RFC awarding just over $3.8 million in grants
- Writing almost 90 blog posts Authoring more than 50 newsletter articles
- Traveling to nine states (a lot fewer than it would have been if not for COVID and increased awareness about our carbon footprint): TN, NY, CA, IL, DC, FL, CT, MN, PA
- Working with almost two dozen different staff and consultants and four different Board chairs/co-chairs
While these numbers matter, people are at the heart of our work. I can’t quantify the number of supporters, beneficiaries, friends or allies I emailed, wrote, spoke or met with during the past ten years, nor can I sum up the enormous value of those interactions. The majority of the most memorable moments of the last 10 years have been these personal interactions; whether it was a lovely email from a former beneficiary reflecting on the impact of their two decade connection with us or a recent exchange with a beneficiary dad sharing the fabulous news that his daughter is finally cancer-free or a fascinating story from a supporter explaining what motivated them to support our work or a partner reflecting on years of fruitful collaboration for both organizations.
I concluded my first Executive Director’s report with the following comments, “Finally, I can’t end without saying thank you—on behalf of all of us—to my dad, for the amazing organization he began and lovingly nurtured, and for the opportunity he has given me to carry it forward.” That’s still true; I’m so grateful to him and to all of you for this wonderful, meaningful job and I firmly believe I’ll feel the same way another decade from now.