Donor Stories

Zarkin Family Fund

Herb Zarkin, a graduate of Lowell High School in 1956, and his wife Susan (Bell), a graduate in 1958, are passionate supporters of their high school and their fund reflects their unique concerns for the well -being of students and teachers alike.

The Zarkin Family Fund supports student activities and enrichment programs that encourage the student's educational, social and civic development. A special committee comprised of retired teachers will review proposals to fund these projects such as speakers, performances and field trips. The Fund will also create a rewards program for LHS teachers to relax, renew, and rejuvenate as a means of recharging their batteries.

Herb Zarkin, a 2006 Lowell High School Distinguished Alumni award winner, is one of the nation's leading retail executives as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of BJ's Wholesale Club.

The Votze Butler Charitable Fund

Paul Votze and John Butler have been long -time partners in a construction and project management company based in Lowell. Building is a talent they have extended to the field of philanthropy too.

Paul and John set out to find the best way to give back to the community to make a difference, and looked for an organization that could embrace the principles and mission of their company and that had a track record for serving community and social service needs. They found the Community Foundation and chose to establish a donor -advised fund so they could recommend a range of charities that could change from year to year.

The Community Foundation has allowed Paul, John, and their company to transform what might have been a one -time contribution into a long -term commitment.

The Greater Merrimack Valley Arts Fund: Maintaining & Growing the Merrimack Valley's Rich Cultural Tradition

Belinda Juran grew up in Queens, New York. After attending the University of Scranton, she moved to Massachusetts to work in the high -tech industry. She received an MBA from Boston University, attended Harvard Law School and is now a partner in the Corporate Department at the law firm WilmerHale in Boston. As the daughter of immigrant parents, Belinda knows firsthand the importance of a community providing cultural and educational opportunities to expand one's mind and open doors to new opportunities.

Evan Schapiro grew up in Miami and moved to Massachusetts to attend M.I.T. He later received an MBA from Boston University. Evan has been a fan of live theater as long as he can remember. As a successful entrepreneur and frequent volunteer, Evan recognized that smaller local businesses and organizations were often poorly served by larger vendors. So, in 2003 his company: Meerkat Technology, developed to enable local organizations reduce costs and increase revenues by easily selling tickets, managing registrations, and accepting donations and memberships via the web, at a fraction of the cost of other commercial ticketing services or custom development.

As residents of the Merrimack Valley for the past 25 years, Evan and Belinda often took advantage of the rich and diverse cultural opportunities that the region offered. Unlike Boston, where the scene is dominated by large cultural institutions with a large donor base, the Merrimack Valley's arts scene typically consists of a more diverse group of smaller and lesser known organizations. So, Evan and Belinda were especially surprised to learn that the Merrimack Valley did not have a permanently endowed Arts Fund dedicated to the support of local cultural organizations.

In order to begin to address this need, Evan and Belinda decided to endow the Greater Merrimack Valley Arts Fund to help maintain and grow the Merrimack Valley's rich cultural tradition. They are proud of the fact that since its establishment in 2003, the Fund has already supported free children's concerts at Boarding House Park and helped fund the Kerouac scroll exhibit in Lowell. They also recognize that the Fund is not as large as it should be for an area this size. They hope that others who value the arts will also consider contributing to this Fund to help ensure that the arts will continue to grow and flourish for future generations. If you would like to support this fund, please make a contribution to the Greater Merrimack Valley Arts Fund.

Peter S. Stamas: Dedicated to Education in Lowell for 17 Years

Education and civic involvement were hallmarks of Peter's. As headmaster of Lowell High School for 17 years, Peter shaped the minds of Lowell's future leaders and led by example. He believed that the ongoing support of community services was the way to better our region's quality of life.

A long -time community activist, Peter co -founded the Community Foundation and presided over the Human Services Corporation for much of its 31+ year history.

As a friend, mentor, educator, and colleague, Peter personally touched the lives of thousands. Under his leadership, the Human Services Corporation was instrumental in creating the Lowell National Historic Park and the Lowell Flowering City initiative. He also encouraged the transfer of Lowell High School's 39 temporary scholarships, worth approximately $500,000, to the Community Foundation to establish what has become the Lowell High School Scholarship Fund... Hundreds contributed to the Peter S. Stamas Scholarship Fund after he died in October 2002.

Alice Dolan Murphy Scholarship Fund

Alice Dolan Murphy's favorite night of the year was Honor Awards Night at her alma mater, Lowell High School. She graduated in 1941. Her eight children and most of her 24 grandchildren graduated from the school also.

For many years on Honor Awards Night, Alice would exuberantly watch every grandchild who attended Lowell High School receive scholarships to help them pursue their dreams of a college education.

Alice's first husband James died in 1962 when her children were 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 years old. In 1994, after her eight children had built lives of their own, she married Dan Murphy.

After Alice's death this past year, her children, inspired by her love of and devotion to Lowell High School, decided to create a scholarship in their beloved mother's name. This year, on behalf of the family, her son Jack Dolan presented the scholarship and acknowledged his mother's absence by motioning to her usual spot in the balcony.

This scholarship will be given out annually in perpetuity to graduating seniors who plan to study nursing at a two - or four -year academic institution.

Coburn Park

A small oasis of greenery in the shadow of Cross Point Towers, the newly renovated and rededicated Coburn Park is a testament to the contributions of the Coburn family to the Lowell community over many generations. This lovely 'pocket park' also demonstrates the way individuals or families, working together with the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, can ensure that their gifts are sustained and enhanced beyond their lifetimes.

Originally donated to the City of Lowell in 1907 by Gratia Ann Parker, the widow of Samuel A. Coburn, Coburn Park occupies a corner of what had been the Coburn homestead and dairy farm. Long neglected over the years, its renewal came about as the result of the generosity of Ms. Parker's great -grandson, Alfred Coburn, who wanted both to rejuvenate the quality of life in Lowell and to honor the memory of his family and his wife Kathryn. Working with the GLCF and the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust, Mr. Coburn created a fund to endow the maintenance of the park in perpetuity. Together, they cleared the old growth, added new trees, bushes and flowers, and installed inscribed granite benches. As a final touch, the park's old granite memorial was moved to a central location and engraved with a scene of the Coburn homestead and farms as they appeared in 1855. The newly beautified park now provides a lovely 'gateway' to anyone entering the area.

Nancy L. Donahue: Impacting the Arts

Nancy Lawson Donahue's personal involvement and contributions to the cultural life of Lowell and the Merrimack Valley are so numerous that just about everyone involved in these Lowell -based endeavors knows her personally.

Nancy experienced the sweat, anguish and joy of leading the effort to start a professional regional repertory theater. She has also been involved with the United Way in various capacities from volunteer to board president for over 25 years, and played a central role in establishing the New England Quilt Museum, The Children's Museum Lowell, The American Textile History Museum, Retarded Adult Rehabilitative Association, and the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. Nancy and her husband Richard established the Nancy L. Donahue Fund to provide unrestricted support to the nonprofit organizations Nancy loves.

The Merrimack Repertory Theatre is now a nationally recognized theater, mounting professional productions that cultivate local actors while attracting talent from across the United States. According to Nancy, "My involvement in the cultural and philanthropic life of Lowell keeps me involved in shaping the city and serving its people, and now the permanent endowments I have created with Dick at the Community Foundation will forever perpetuate my commitment to these wonderful organizations."

Suzanne C. Knapp: Love of Quilting Yields Financial Stability

Quilting gives Suzanne C. Knapp tremendous satisfaction, and volunteering as a key member of the New England Quilt Museum's staff has increased her commitment to furthering the fine work of the Museum.

Suzanne found a way to secure a higher annual return on an investment while finding a perfect place for her future charitable gift to the Museum when she created the Suzanne C. Knapp Charitable Gift Annuity - a giving vehicle which gives her an immediate tax deduction, a lifetime source of income in exchange for a charitable gift, which will be transferred to the museum when she passes on.

"Creating the Suzanne C. Knapp Charitable Gift Annuity gives me another source of lifetime income to supplement my fixed income, and it has allowed me to contribute a gift to the Museum's endowment at the Community Foundation after I die. I'm a big fan of gift annuities because they give me a quarterly check to augment income, earn a terrific tax deduction, and later support the museum endowment with the funds that are left. It's my way to forever support the rich traditions that quilting embody by supporting a first -rate Museum that celebrates it every day," says Suzanne.

Enid Rocha: The First Endowed Scholarship for African -American Students at Lowell High

During her 20 -year teaching career at Lowell's Bartlett School and work with the YWCA, Enid Rocha developed a love for the children of Lowell. She believed that with the means to pursue higher education, many of the city's children would grow up to make a difference in the community, both personally and professionally. Her husband Dr. Joseph R. Rocha, a distinguished professor of management at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, heartily agreed.

When Joseph, a longtime activist with the Merrimack Valley chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), passed away, Mrs. Rocha decided to honor his memory with a scholarship fund. Originally administered by the Merrimack Valley NAACP, Mrs. Rocha recently transitioned more than $13,000 to the Greater Lowell Community Foundation and Lowell High School. In doing so, the Dr. Joseph R. Rocha NAACP Scholarship Fund became the first endowed scholarship dedicated to the African -American and African students of Lowell High and the first fund in the school's Campaign for Educational Excellence. It is awarded to seniors who maintain a B average or better, and plan to attend college in order to start a career in business, as Joseph taught.

"I chose the Greater Lowell Community Foundation and Lowell High School for Joseph's scholarship because they could ensure the money would grow over time and become available to more and more deserving students," said Mrs. Rocha. "Helping our high school graduates get through college so they may establish profitable business careers will provide rich rewards for the Greater Lowell community in the future. In turn, my husband's dreams for our community will be fulfilled."

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