Richard levy stands with his wife
Richard Levy

Improving Equity with Philanthropy

Giving Voice Spring 2021: Donor Story

Richard remembers Betty as a beautiful, highly intelligent woman with deep convictions and an original mind. Betty and Richard were members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and protested the urban renewal projects in Syracuse that threatened the homes and livelihoods of Black families starting in 1963. They were both arrested for their efforts and spent a brief time in jail. The couple was married for nearly 60 years until Betty passed away in 2019.

As a long-time fundholder of ours, Richard has supported several nonprofits and initiatives. A major charitable passion of his is the equity and inclusion sector, through which he has supported the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Equal Justice Initiative and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He also served on the board of the Central New York Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU).

Recently, to honor Betty’s memory, Richard added our Black Equity & Excellence Fund to his long list of equitable causes he supports. We established the fund in June of 2020 to support Black-led nonprofit organizations and projects that counteract systemic racism. Richard’s intimate understanding of racism also stems from his own history of persecution. He realized this as he returned to his childhood home in 2009.

“Among the many emotional experiences of my visit was seeing that the Germans are dealing in a very serious and determined way to acknowledge and atone for the Holocaust,” he said. “It opened my eyes to the fact that if we could acknowledge the evils of slavery and atone for them, race relations in this country would benefit greatly.”

As a beneficiary of The Luxembourg Agreement, a German program that provided financial restitution for losses and suffering as a result of the Holocaust, Richard was able to understand, in a personal way, the wealth gap between races. This compelled him to support our Black Equity & Excellence Fund to address past injustices for future generations.

Richard is excited to contribute funding to our Black Equity & Excellence Fund and hopes that his contributions can be used to fund programs that promote equity.

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