Guest Blog: Stepping Up to the Podium

My name is Jenn Meeropol; I am Robert’s older daughter and the Grantmaking Coordinator at the Rosenberg Fund for Children. I’m filling in for my dad’s blog this week while he’s on a well-deserved vacation, accompanying my mom on a book tour for her new novel, House Arrest.

While my dad/boss is away, I’m spending some time prepping for my first solo talk representing the RFC, which I’ll give on the 58th anniversary of my grandparents’ execution, June 19th, at the Community Church of Boston. The working title of my presentation is “Carry It Forward and Pass it On: The RFC’s Next Generation.”

I’ll be speaking to these long-time Rosenberg and RFC supporters about the new wave of repression directed at a number of activist communities and how it has impacted the RFC. This spring we received more new applications than we have for almost 10 years. Many requests were on behalf of children whose parents are organizing for environmental issues or who are international peace and justice activists under attack from grand juries (see updates at We also received an application from an undocumented Latina youth risking her own deportation to fight for immigrants’ rights; and a flood of requests from students resisting the privatization of public education in Puerto Rico.

These are familiar subjects for me. I’ve spent the last four years as the RFC’s Grantmaking Coordinator, interacting with our beneficiary families. This experience, along with the emails, phone calls, and in-person connections with beneficiaries and their families at Gatherings, public events, and house parties, have all given me a good sense of who our beneficiaries are and how much they value both the emotional and financial support the RFC community provides.

But I’ll also talk on June 19th about the future of the RFC and more specifically my plans for this organization, and that’s a new area for me. While I’ve known for several years that I’ll become the next Executive Director of the RFC when my dad retires, 2013 feels like a long time away. Of course, I’ve spent some time thinking about what I’ll do as ED but I feel like at this point I have more ideas and questions than any well-thought-out plans.

I know we need to continue our online outreach and take advantage of new communication tools to engage the next generation of donors, while continuing to connect to long-time supporters.

I’m thrilled that we’ve re-instituted the Gathering program and hope we’re able to continue to offer opportunities for beneficiaries to come together and learn from and with each other for years to come. I’m intrigued by the idea of having more frequent major events (like Celebrate the Children of Resistance), maybe on a regional basis. And I’m excited by our success reaching out to new activist communities this spring and hope we’re able to continue to spread the word about the RFC to other potential beneficiaries.

These are some of my ideas. Are they appealing to you? Do you have other suggestions to share about where the RFC should go in the future, and what my priorities should be as the next Director? What would you like to see the RFC do in 3 years? 5 years? 10 years? I welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing from you.

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