A Legacy Agent

Claire Friedlander Family Foundation President Peter J. Klein’s interview with Worth explains what it means to be “a legacy agent” and how his work with Claire Friedlander evolved into the foundation we have today.

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“Wearing is Caring” Public Health Initiative

The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation is pleased to support the “Wearing is Caring” public health awareness campaign designed to raise awareness of health care disparities in underserved communities, the need for social distancing, and the importance of wearing face coverings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. A project of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation (HSCF), in partnership with The UPS Foundation, the campaign is aligned with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) that encourages the use of cotton or cloth face coverings in public spaces to reduce community spread.

Through the “Wearing is Caring” campaign, Henry Schein and its partners will continue to identify and work with additional organizations to further expand public awareness around health care disparities in underserved communities, the importance of oral health care, and the need for social distancing and wearing of face coverings.

“It’s important to the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation that we continue our support of HSCF commitment to the betterment and advocacy of public health, wellness and health equality,” said Peter J. Klein, Foundation President.

To learn more about “Wearing is Caring” please visit


The Book Fairies

Reading is essential and it starts with a book. The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation believes in and supports the important work of The Book Fairies, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that collects reading materials for people in need throughout metropolitan New York. The reading materials foster literacy and academic success, provide a respite from personal struggles, and nurture a love of reading across age groups.

Founded in 2012, The Book Fairies collect and redistribute new and gently used books to communities that lack access to reading materials. Books are collected through drives organized with schools, businesses and organizations. Through upcycling, resources that already exist are shifted from those who no longer need them to those who need them most. The Book Fairies has four program areas: Children’s Programs, Community Programs, Global Literacy, and Special Needs Partnerships.

Since inception, over 2.4 Million books have been distributed, benefitting 572 individual learning institutions and 255 Community organizations. In 2019, 597,652 books were distributed, including 150,000 that went overseas, and 12 tons were recycled. Over 180 volunteer opportunities were provided for special needs individuals, offering them a chance to contribute to their own communities. With the shutdown of schools and businesses in March of this year due to Covid-19, it became even more evident that their books were essential as so many children were left in the dark without access to books.

“We are very proud that the Claire Friedlander Foundation grant supported The Book Fairies distribution of over 190,000 books in response to the Covid-19 crisis, said Foundation President Peter J. Klein.” They continue to work within CDC guidelines to get books into the hands of children in need and we hope our participation will motivate others to assist them as well.”

For more information visit


2020 Friedlander Upstander Award Winners

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Friedlander Upstander Awards, the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation provided a $20,000 grant that funded $5,000 scholarships the 2020 essay winners. The foundation and the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County in (HMTC) in conjunction with Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments annually honor middle school, high school and college students on Long Island who confront intolerance, prejudice or other forms of social injustice. Each of the award winners has demonstrated through their daily choices how they are Upstanders.

The 2020 Friedlander Upstander Award Winners are Avery DeNatale, a 12th grade student at Locust Valley High School; Sean O’Toole, a 12th grade student at Oyster Bay High School; Isabella Costello, a 10th grade student at Bay Shore High School; and Hadeeka Malik, a 10th grade student at Half Hollow Hills High School West.

Avery DeNatale, a student at Locust Valley High School, has dedicated herself to spreading kindness in her community. She volunteers in her school with “Life Skills,” a group in her school that helps special needs students learn skills like how to grocery shop and do laundry. As a result of her volunteer work with “Life Skills,” she has been inspired to become an elementary school teacher.

Sean O’Toole, a student at Oyster Bay High School, was the quarterback of the school’s football team and recognized that Black and immigrant players were subjected to discrimination by the team’s coach. He attended school board meetings and told the principal and athletic director about what was happening which resulted in the removal of the coach.

Isabella Costello, a student at Bay Shore High School, is one of fourteen adopted siblings with special needs. Born with bilateral hearing loss, she has learned to overcome adversity to achieve success. Isabella organized a day at her high school to bring awareness to Moebius Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder her younger brother has. She hopes that because of her efforts, her peers and teachers will understand why her brother looks different and treat him with love and respect.

Hadeeka Malik, a student at Half Hollow Hills High School West, is active in her school and community in Girl Scouts, Peer Ambassadors, Peer AIDS and Women’s Empowerment groups. She is also a member of the Junior Board of the Sophia Valsamos Foundation, a nonprofit which seeks to empower youth to take a stand against bullying and embrace each other’s differences. Having herself experienced discrimination, Hadeeka believes in the importance of speaking up against bigotry and hatred.

Peter J. Klein, CFA, CRPS, CAP, the President of the Friedlander Foundation said, “The essays these students have submitted are inspiring. Each student describes a challenge about equality, human rights, tolerance justice — and how they have helped to accomplish it. These students presented through the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County are excellent role models.”

For more information visit HMTC’s website ,


2020 Student Essay Winners Announced

Founder Claire Friedlander wished to promote tolerance and understanding and as such, the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation is pleased to sponsor the 5th Annual Life’s WORC and The Family Center for Autism essay contest in conjunction with Life’s WORC and Schneps Communications. All 9th-12th grade students currently enrolled at a public or private school in Queens, Nassau or Suffolk Counties were eligible to participate. Since the contest was launched, the organization has provided about $40,000 in awards to sixteen students.

Over 70 essays were submitted for the topic “How Can I Lead My School and Community to Become A Bully-Free Place For Individuals With Autism and Developmental Disabilities.” Samantha Barbera, a 12th grade student from Brentwood High School, Brentwood, was the First-Place winner receiving $4,000. There was a tie for winning second place with Isabella Sicilian (a 10th grade student from Townsend Harris High School, Flushing) and Samantha Mack (an 11th grade student from Sanford H. Calhoun High School, Merrick.) The four Judges decided to combine the Second Place and Third Place prize money, to award each of the Second Place winners $2,500. Read the winning essays here.

Peter J. Klein, foundation President offers his good wishes and appreciation to the winners. “We would like to congratulate you for stepping up and speaking out on a crisis affecting a number of today’s students: Incidents of bullying and how this can be prevented. The thoughts you and your fellow students expressed through the written words you submitted have given our non-profit organization an abundance of new ideas and fresh perspectives on how to respond to the bullying issue, especially as it relates to people with autism and developmental disabilities,” said Klein.

Life’s WORC/The Family Center For Autism is a Garden City-based non-profit agency established fifty years ago by print media publisher Victoria Schneps with help from broadcast journalist icon Geraldo Rivera. It offers a variety of services and programs to some 2,000 people with developmental disabilities and autism. This includes a network of 43 group residences. Click here for more information.


Imagine Awards Going Virtual

The 8th Annual Long Island Imagine Awards has made the decision to convert the live awards gala to a free virtual event on YouTube Live on Tuesday, July 8, 2020 from 5:30-6:30pm. After initially rescheduling the event from April to July due to Covid-19, the volunteer planning committee agreed that rather than continue to postpone, it is best to produce an exciting virtual event and get the prize money in the hands of the winning nonprofits as soon as possible. The virtual format will feature a 30 minute “Cocktail Event” where sponsors and attendees can interact prior to the start of the program and again at the conclusion. Integrating the pre-recorded sponsor and finalist videos with the LIVE announcements of the winners in addition to offering viewers the ability to donate directly to the finalists before, during and after the YouTube Live event is an exciting and innovative approach.

Foundation President Peter J. Klein, CFA states “I am pleased to be part of this pivot to a virtual event and the live announcement of the winner of the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation Award for Arts and Culture.” This move offers anyone the ability to view and share in the excitement and celebration of our region’s top nonprofit organizations,” says Klein.

This gala event was created to offer formal acknowledgement to some of Long Island’s most effective and innovative nonprofit organizations. Over 160 nonprofit applications were submitted to win a $5,000 grant in five categories: Innovation, Leadership Excellence, Rising Star, Social Impact and Arts and Culture. Of this pool of worthy applicants, 20 were selected as finalists and one in each category will be awarded the grant during the YouTube Live awards ceremony on July 8, 2020.

Cerini & Associates Social Impact Award:
• Family Service League
• Option for Community Living
• Special Olympics

The Certilman Balin Leadership Excellence Award
• Robert S. Budd, CEO, Family Residence and Essential Enterprise Inc.
• Renee Flagler, Executive Director, Girls Inc of Long Island
• Dr. David Hegarty, Executive/CEO, Hope For Youth
• John Miller, President/CEO, Guide Dog Foundation and America’s Vet Dogs

The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation Arts & Culture Award
• Nassau County Museum of Art
• Patchogue Theatre of Performing Arts
• Spirit of Huntington Arts Center
• Splashes of Hope

Empire National Bank Innovation Award
• Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County
• Planned Parenthood of Nassau
• Spirit of Huntington Arts Center
• The Guide Dog Foundation

Vanguard Insurance Agency Rising Star Award
• Birthday Wishes of Long Island
• New Hour for Women and Children
• Smile Farms
• The Book Fairies

This year, the Imagine Awards introduced the Hall of Fame Award which was established to honor those organizations that consistently excel in the areas of leadership, impact and operations. These organizations continuously operate at the highest level and have been recognized by the Imagine Awards as a consistent winner or finalist. The 2020 Hall of Fame Award recipient is Island Harvest.

More information is available online

For more information contact Hillary Needle at, 516-993-4056.


The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation Partners with Long Island Community Foundation To Launch COVID-19 Long Island Philanthropic Response Fund

The Fund will support Long Island nonprofits to ensure they can continue to serve all Long Islanders with vitally important services.

The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation made a substantial grant to The Long Island Community Foundation to facilitate the launch of the COVID-19 Long Island Philanthropic Response Fund to aid nonprofit service providers struggling with the health and economic effects of the coronavirus.  Also joining the charge are the Greentree Foundation, Horace and Amy Hagedorn Fund, Long Island Community Foundation, Rauch Foundation and many other generous donors who make possible immediate grants to Long Island nonprofits in response to emergent and critical needs affecting our local region. Priority will be given to nonprofits addressing essential health and human services and food insecurity, as well as arts and culture as it is directly tied to our communities’ health and wellness and economic recovery.

“The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation is proud to partner with LICF and other foundations to initiate the Covid-19 Long Island Philanthropic Response Fund.  By banding together, we can direct emergency funds to Long Island’s essential nonprofits to sustain their critical staffing and programmatic endeavors,” said Peter J. Klein, CFA, President, The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation.  “When liked-minded foundations can work together the results can move the needle and are often more impactful,” said Klein.

Grants are limited to 501(c)3 organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive tax-deductible contributions such as faith-based organizations located in or primarily serving Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The first phase of funding will be used to support the immediate needs of front-line direct service providers to strengthen their capacity to address the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the emergent needs of vulnerable populations caused by related closures and social distancing guidelines.  Interested organizations can get more information and apply here. To learn more about the COVID-19 Long Island Philanthropic Response Fund and the Long Island Community Foundation, visit their website at

In addition to supporting the COVID-19 Long Island Philanthropic Response Fund, The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation has made a series of individual grants to a roster of essential Long Island nonprofits in need of immediate relief.


Applications Open for Friedlander Upstander Award

For the past ten years the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation has proudly sponsored the Friedlander Upstander Award in partnership with the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County in honor of our founder Claire Friedlander, a Holocaust survivor. The foundation is pleased to recognized students who exhibit courage and leadership in the face of injustice.

The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County annually honors Middle School and High School students on Long Island who confront intolerance, prejudice or other forms of social injustice with the Friedlander Upstander Award. Winners receive a scholarship. The 10th Annual Friedlander Upstander Awards will be presented at HMTC’s Annual Tolerance Benefit on Monday, May 4, at Westbury Manor, 1100 Jericho Turnpike, Westbury, NY 11590.

Due to the rise of hate speech, hate crimes and bullying on Long Island and nationally, those who make a difference in their schools and communities by acting as Upstanders are more important than ever. HMTC defines an Upstander as a person who stands up for others and does not allow bigotry, hatred or intolerance to happen without intercession. Every year the HMTC honor Middle School and High School students from across Long Island who have demonstrated the actions of an Upstander. The student’s action could be one of intervention or prevention, big or small.

Those who are interested in applying must be enrolled in a Middle School or High School on Long Island, have a brief nomination letter from a teacher, guidance counselor or other adult who isn’t a family member and must write a 500-word essay on what actions they have taken that make them Upstanders. Applications for the Friedlander Upstander Award are due Tuesday, April 7.

For more information, or to apply, contact Helen Turner, Director of Youth Education at HMTC, at 516-571-8040 or or visit


Inaugural NYC Imagine Awards Nonprofit Competition

Winners to Be Announced on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at the Edison Ballroom

The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation is pleased to support the expansion of the Imagine Awards into New York City. The success of the Long Island Imagine Awards, now in its 8th year, inspired founder Ken Cerini, CPA, Cerini & Associates LLP, to bring this innovative and inspiring event to NYC to shine a spotlight on the incredible nonprofits in and around the City.

The Inaugural NYC Imagine Awards nonprofit competition will take place on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at The Edison Ballroom, 6-10pm. This event was created to formally acknowledge some of NYC’s most effective and innovative nonprofit organizations. $5,000 grants will be awarded in the following categories: Cerini & Associates Award for Social Impact, Innovation, The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation Award for Arts & Culture, Rising Star, and Leadership Excellence.

Claire Friedlander Family Foundation President Peter J. Klein states “We’ve enjoyed recognizing the significant cultural contributions the Long Island organizations have made to the community and we are looking forward to the NYC event in October.” “The arts provide substantial richness to society and it’s exciting to recognize and reward this important facet of the nonprofit landscape,” said Klein.

501(c)(3) organizations located in and serving The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and/or Staten Island are eligible to apply. The 20 finalists receive a free promotional video that is debuted at the event and the winner in each category is announced LIVE. The application deadline is Friday, May 8, 2020 and more information can be found here


Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe

The mission at Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe (TSCW) is to transform the last remaining laboratory of inventor Nikola Tesla into a museum and global science center that empowers people through education and entrepreneurship and continues Tesla’s legacy of innovation and humanitarianism.

The Claire Friedlander Foundation is pleased to support this mission in ways that are having a real impact. Innovative new education programs are reaching more students and educators, both locally and globally. Teslamania, a day-long event in which teachers presented their most successful science projects, was broadcast around the world and recorded to provide a real-world tool for learning. Funding from the foundation has also enabled TSCW to take STEAM to the next level by funding educational events that focus on experiential, experimental learning for all ages. This includes Tesla Tech Art Camp, a week-long program that explored the inventive and creative process with remarkable results; attendees created draw-bots, electric circuit sculptures, sound and vibration art, and “inventions” that they pitched in an entrepreneurial presentation. Their elementary school programs go beyond traditional rote learning with interactive classes like Fun with Forces, Magic with Magnets, Super Circuits and more. In addition, the foundation also supports year-long events and exhibits at TSCW that inspire and educate thousands of people around the globe; these feature hands-on exhibits, educational talks, arts and history that promote innovation and betterment of humanity as exemplified by Nikola Tesla.

Foundation President Peter J. Klein states “in addition to education programs for students, we are excited to fund the development of resources and support for entrepreneurs, business start-ups and technologists. There is a great need for programs that provide opportunity for STEAM entrepreneurs who are challenged to develop and fund their work.” Klein says, “Together, The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation and TSCW are working to transform lives by giving people the resources and opportunity to achieve their goals and dreams.”