Turning a Family Tragedy into a Lasting Legacy
Witnessing the fruits of your thoughtful philanthropy can be fulfilling, and for some, it can help heal the wounds of a tragic loss.
Sandy Fox turned her family tragedy into a lasting legacy in memory of her only child, Marcy Finerman Lewis, who was killed in a car accident in 1994 when she was just 27-years-old.
The Marcy Finerman Lewis Endowment Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation awards an annual scholarship to deserving students at any state university in Arizona. Sandy designated the scholarship to areas of study important to Marcy: communications and theater; theater-related activities, such as summer theater programs; and Jewish-related theater activities and needs in the Phoenix area.
“My life was enriched because of my daughter, Marcy,” says Sandy. “She was a loving, caring and giving individual, proud of her Jewish heritage and the traditions she followed. We know she would approve of what her dad, Jess Finerman, and I have decided to do to remember Marcy by making this gift to the foundation in our lifetime so we could see where and to whom the money is going.”
In 2010, Sandy accomplished that goal when she met Karin Finkelstein, a 20-year-old communications major at the University of Arizona, and the first recipient of the Marcy Finerman Lewis Endowment Fund. “Karin is an extremely bright, charming girl who I know will go far in her career,” said Sandy. “I’m very pleased with the recipient, her character and her goals for herself.”
Unfortunately, Marcy’s father, Jess Finerman, died before he was able to meet the first recipient. According to Sandy, he, too, wanted to be involved with this process. She’s sad that he will not be able to.
“That’s why I feel it is so important to start an endowment fund while you are alive and healthy,” Sandy says, “so that you will be able to be part of this process, rather than leaving money after your passing. It’s a good feeling to know I will, hopefully, be a part of this and be able to see who benefits for many years to come.”
Sandy has published two books to support parents grieving the loss of their children: I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye: Parents Share Their Stories of Hope and Healing after a Child’s Death (2001) and Creating a New Normal… After the Death of a Child (2010). Sandy’s second book provides coping and informational skills to help all bereaved parents, family, and friends deal with their loss.
“Life’s twists and turns can lead you down a far different path than you ever imagined. It did for me, but starting this endowment fund during my lifetime was the right thing to do. It will live on in perpetuity for a very long time, and I, too, will be able to see the good it does in the Jewish community. There is no better feeling than that!”