The Phyllis Margolius Family Foundation, Inc. was created in 2014 by her husband and three children shortly after her death. The void of having lost Phyllis was not only felt by the Margolius family but by the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan Jewish community as well.
The family felt that creating this Foundation could be one of many ways to begin to fill their personal loss as well as the loss of this vital leader and philanthropist in our community.
When the immediate family first met to create the foundation, we tried to honor our wife and mother’s memory in the most meaningful and thoughtful ways, in ways that she would have continued her work in the community. So that is how we approached the Foundation. We brought in an advisory board of some of her closest confidants and mentors – Harold Adler, Ted Farber, and H. Chaim Lauer. We engaged the next generation of her family including her grandchildren. We sought opinions and ideas from across the community of what was important to them – from the most observant to the “just” Jewish, and also engaged opinions of our greater community including all Washingtonians.
We decided that we could take two approaches with this Foundation both of which came from Phyllis’ own words:
The first – “Take a flyer on new or unproven initiatives” (Phyllis Margolius 11/26/2013) where we could just maybe address big and difficult and what seemed to be unsolvable problems in our community; and
The second – make traditional grants to organizations that were meaningful to us because we were fortunate enough to have as Phyllis said “the ability to give away money each year to truly make a difference in our community and the lives of those who can benefit from a helping hand” (Phyllis Margolius 11/26/2013).
So this is why the Foundation was created and why we strive to do what we do. To honor the memory of Phyllis Margolius – a natural altruist and philanthropist and an ardent supporter of the Washington, D.C. community as a whole. The Foundation’s vision is inspired by her legacy. We are motivated by her lifelong commitment to this community, Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) and Phyllis’ integrity, values, willingness to take a risk to accomplish goals she believed in, her love of life, and her uncanny ability to bring people together to help the community and her commitment to solve problems and fulfill unmet needs in the community.