Eric A. Shapiro MD Memorial Fund

The Eric A. Shapiro MD Memorial Fund Directed $10,000 to the Women & Girl’s Portfolio (within AJWS) in 2019 and $5,000 in 2020 & 2021

My father believed strongly in women’s rights and education which is why I’m incredibly excited to share that this year, the Eric A. Shapiro MD Memorial Fund will be directing $10,000 to the women and girl’s portfolio within the American Jewish World Service (AJWS). Within the women and girl’s portfolio, AJWS works with 157 grantees that work specifically to empower women and girls, to promote equality and dignity, and to stop violence and discrimination.

One of my favorite grantees is the Azad Foundation. I was lucky enough to hear the founder speak a few years ago. The Azad Foundation, based in Delhi, is one of the few organizations that provides livelihood options to women and girls in India. Azad’s flagship program is “Women on Wheels,” which trains women from urban slums to become professional drivers, specifically for other women, working either as individual chauffeurs or as taxi drivers for a taxicab company that is run by the commercial counterpart of the organization. This serves two powerful functions: it helps give women a set of skills so that they can support themselves financially (and determine marriage on their own terms) and has the ripple effect of female passengers being able to safely take a taxi. I know my dad would be truly humbled and proud to have his name attached to such an incredible organization.

As a woman, this is incredibly near and dear to my heart. My family always empowered me. I got to go to college and graduate school. I got to choose who and when I got married. Even when I was not financially independent, I still had full autonomy over my body. Not all women have these basic rights.

Donating to the Eric A. Shapiro MD Memorial Fund

Our goal was to surpass $96,000 by the end of May 2019! WE DID IT! WE DID IT! THANK YOU. I am truly grateful to every single one of you for your support.

Online Donation: Please press the blue 'donation' button on the top right side of this page to make a secure online donation.

Snail Mail: Please send checks payable to the American Jewish World Service c/o Eric A. Shapiro MD Memorial Fund. It is very important that you write the fund's name, so the money is allocated appropriately. In the area under have acknowledgment sent, write Ilana Shapiro Yahdav.

Address: American Jewish World Service c/o Eric A. Shapiro MD Memorial Fund, 45 West 36th Street, New York, NY 10018. In the memo write: Eric A. Shapiro M.D. Memorial Fund.

If you have any questions at all, please email me (Ilana - ilanadshapiro@gmail.com). My brothers, mother, family and I truly appreciate and thank you for your support!

Overview of The Eric A. Shapiro MD Memorial Fund

Eric A. Shapiro MD Memorial Completed First Large-Scale Matching Campaign of $18,000 in Honor of the Ten-Year Anniversary (2017)

We successfully participated in our first large-scale matching campaign! The Eric A. Shapiro MD Memorial Fund partnered with AJWS Global Circle – the Young Adult Division – and matched $18,000 of young adult gifts made this year. This served two functions: it doubled the gift impact ($18,000 became $36,000) and it helped cultivate the next generation of philanthropists.

Running the NYC Marathon and Team AJWS (2013)
In 2011, I approached AJWS to apply to become an official charity in the NYC Marathon. After some gentle encouragement, they agreed. The outcome: the first AJWS Marathon team. Unfortunately, I was not able to run in the inaugural team but ran on TEAM AJWS in 2013! I'm humbled to say that AJWS has now had a marathon team EVERY YEAR SINCE!

For two years (2011, 2012), I trained for the NYC Marathon. In 2011, after 5 months of training, and completing my longest run (20 miles), I pulled my hip flexor and had to pull out of the marathon. In 2012, I broke my ankle running the Adirondack Ragnar relay (I still finished my run!) and had to pull out of the marathon, again. In 2013, after three attempts, I RAN THE NYC MARATHON!

When I first started training and fundraising, I made a commitment and a promise to all of you, my father, and myself, to run the NYC marathon. I am so proud so say that I finally was able to keep my promise. I can’t thank everyone enough for your continued support through my multiple injuries.

I CROSSED the finish line and honored my father’s memory. Years later, I still simply cannot stop smiling and glowing. As my father and grandfather always said, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I tried, tried again and finally succeeded.

The Creation of the Eric A. Shapiro MD Memorial Fund (2007)

My father, Eric (Ricky)'s, recipe for living was ‘Tikkun Olam’, repairing the world, and to leave the world a better place than he found it, both professionally and personally. Following a family tradition, he became a physician, a gastroenterologist. He truly embodied the image of the small-town doctor who took care of all, regardless of background or circumstance. He cared about each and every one of his patients, and always went out of his way to make sure they got exactly what they needed. This often meant making house calls, going head to head with insurance companies, or lobbying to change hospital policy. In his personal life, he was a very involved, loving father, husband, son, brother and friend. He always did his best for everyone who touched his life. In his own way, he strived to heal the world, one patient at a time.

After his death on April 28, 2007, we all were devastated. For months, as David, Alex and I worked through our grief, we pondered the best way to honor him. I wanted to create something that would attempt to encompass all of our father's values, beliefs and ethics and carry on his name.

A decision in favor of a fund to support education for a deserving student in medical school or study abroad seemed like a fitting tribute. I started collecting change in an old Absolut bottle that I kept hidden in my closet. My younger brother, Alex noted that change sitting in a closet does not earn interest, so we collected the change (total $22.50) in a Ziploc bag and went to Bank of America (BOA). When Alex and I walked into the BOA in Monticello, NY, proclaiming our intention of opening a scholarship fund in memory of our father, the bank manager was a bit skeptical. This is especially so because Alex and I did not look much older than sixteen and because we added that she should NOT tell our mother as it was going to be a surprise for her. She humored us and this was the beginning of the Eric A. Shapiro M.D. Memorial Fund.

We opened the bank account with the $22.50 in change, and some of Alex’s tip and graduation money. My older brother, David and I matched Alex’s contribution, thus starting to raise the principal required for our father’s fund. (Later, after we established the fund and awarded our first scholarship, I went back to tell the bank manager. She was excited and actually donated with BOA later matching her donation!)

After much thought, it was suggested that we choose a favorite non-profit organization to support and create a scholarship within it. The American Jewish World Service (AJWS) immediately came to mind as one that embodies all that our father believed in. After meeting with several people at AJWS, we concluded that it was indeed possible to start the Eric A. Shapiro M.D. Memorial Fund. In order to create the fund, we had to raise a principal amount of $50,000 (which we did within 6 months with your help)! Our goal was to be able to open the fund by the year anniversary of our Dad's death on April 28, 2008. I am beyond proud to say that we achieved our goal!

Our dedication to making this happen is strong and the energy to do this comes from our grief and our love; how much we miss him and the belief that many of those who loved and cared for him continue to miss him and mourn him as well.

My wise cousin said to me that I should not try to do this alone and that I should let all that knew and loved him participate in opening this fund.

Another very wise relative of mine said to me that one should not judge people's love for my father by how much they donate. NO donation is too small; whatever you can donate is great. We all miss him and we all should be able to participate in helping create a fund that will carry into the future his name, his love for humanity and his ideals.

Thank you for being part of this non-linear journey with us!

Personal campaign progress

$ 111,680.00 raised to date
Personal Fundraising Goal
$ 200,000.00

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