Anti-Bullying Essay Contest Open to Teens

The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation in collaboration with Life’s WORC/Family Center for Autism invites Long Island high school students to enter an essay contest that aims to combat bullying against people with developmental disabilities. Students in grades 9 to 12 enrolled in public or private schools in Nassau or Suffolk counties as well as Queens are eligible to compete for the $4,000 first-place prize, $3,000 second-place award or $2,000 third-place winner. The essays must address the question: “Why autistic and developmentally disabled people become targets of bullies, and how can my school and community prevent it?”

“I hope that this essay question will motivate more critical thinking, constructive ideas, and perhaps, solutions,” said Peter J. Klein, President of The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation. “Sadly, bullying and acts of thoughtless, irresponsible conduct targeting developmentally disabled and autistic people is at a point of crisis,” Klein said. “How can schools and communities help to bring about new social improvements and bring an end to this form of prejudice and intolerance?”

The essays must be 400-500 words, submitted by the U.S. Postal Service, Fed Ex, or United Parcel Service postmarked by no later than May 3, 2018. Contact Tina Moreno at 516-741-9000 or Danny Frank at 212-279-1041 for details. Awards will be made at a presentation event at The Family Center For Autism by no later than June 1, 2018.

The  late Claire Friedlander, established the foundation to foster tolerance as she was a Holocaust survivor who immigrated from Nazi Germany to the United States. Life’s WORC was founded by Victoria Schneps-Yunis, co-publisher of the Long Island Press, which is also sponsoring the event along with the Queens Courier. In addition to Klein, judges for this contest include Northville Industries Corp. CEO Dr. Gene Bernstein, Life’s WORC Executive Director Janet Koch and Kelly McMasters, Asst. Professor of English and Publishing Studies Director at Hofstra University.



The Human Trial Type I Diabetes

The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation recognized the significance of filmmakers Lisa Hepner and Guy Mossman’s vision to document the scientific research via stem cell therapy to cure type 1 diabetes and proudly supported production of The Human Trial, a feature-length documentary with unprecedented, real-time access to one of America’s top labs — ViaCyte in San Diego. This groundbreaking film follows the team’s triumphs and failures in the lab as they attempt to make medical history at a landmark clinical trial in 2018.

“The CFF grant has helped us to document every step of this remarkable journey in medical science. Specifically, we have used the grant to film the patients in Cohort 2 of ViaCyte’s Pec-Direct trial—where they receive the therapeutic dose of islet cells,” said Hepner. “We have been waiting four years to film with patients, and we always thought that they would become the emotional heart of the film. And they are.”  Hepner continues “their stories of living with T1D are heart-wrenching, and their participation in the clinical trial dramatic. Through the three patients we experience first-hand the terrible physical, emotional and financial costs of the disease while they ride the trial’s hope/despair rollercoaster.”

More than 90 years after the discovery of insulin, ViaCyte has received FDA approval to launch the first ever-human trial of a stem-cell derived treatment that might cure type 1 diabetes. ViaCyte’s trial is only the third ever in the US, and the sixth ever in the world to use embryonic stem cell therapy to cure a disease.  Hepner, a type 1 diabetic for 26 years, collaborated with her husband cinematographer, Guy Mossman, to produce a film capturing how science, commerce and politics intersect and to show that science is anything but sterile.

Peter J. Klein, President, The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation, said “the foundation supported The Human Trial to help shine a light on the serious reality of living with diabetes and how scientific breakthroughs are not only possible but probable.”

For more information on The Human Trial visit

•The Human Trial Production Still (10.14.2017) Directors Lisa Hepner and Guy Mossman at ViaCyte Innovation Alley

• The Human Trial Production Still (10.14.2017) Directors Lisa Hepner and Guy Mossman at ViaCyte Innovation Alley


•The Human Trial Production Still (06.22.2016) Director Lisa Hepner interviews Paul Laikind, CEO of ViaCyte at Headquarters in La Jolla

• The Human Trial Production Still (06.22.2016) Director Lisa Hepner interviews Paul Laikind, CEO of ViaCyte at Headquarters in La Jolla


The Corporate Source Honors National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month Champion

The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation, in partnership with The Corporate Source, a Garden City-based nonprofit that creates employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, honored Robert Rodriguez, a Bay Shore amputee, with the National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Champion Award.  Recognizing the contributions of people with disabilities in the workforce, The Corporate Source invited prominent Long Island businesses to nominate an employee with a disability who they believed should be chosen as a NDEAM Champion among Long Island employers.

Rodriguez, 30, whose right leg was amputated below the knee when he was 10 months old, was nominated for the distinction by his employers at East Coast Orthotic & Prosthetic Corp., which is owned by brothers Larry and Vincent Benenati.  Four judges selected Rodriguez from a pool of 10 applicants because of his outstanding enthusiasm and commitment to helping other amputees.

“The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation salutes the work of  the work of The Corporate Source for providing dignity through employment opportunities to those who might otherwise be marginalized for a disability,” said foundation President Peter J. Klein.

For more information about The Corporate Source click here.


Project Accessible Oral Health Funded by Claire Friedlander Family Foundation

The Claire Friedlander Foundation is very proud to fund Project Accessible Oral Health (PAOH), created by the The Viscardi Center and Henry Schein, Inc.. PAOH is an international public-private partnership that will raise awareness of, and address the significant need for, increased oral health care for people with disabilities, thus improving their overall health and quality of life.

People with disabilities face a number of barriers to accessing quality oral health care, from the difficulty in paying for treatment, to obtaining dental coverage, to the physical challenges of accessing a practitioner’s office or being seated in a dental chair. For oral health care practitioners, lack of alignment within the reimbursement system creates an added challenge to serving this population, which requires ongoing professional development and training to address the unique needs of children and adults with diverse disabilities.

To kick off its proactive work to address these and other obstacles to improved care and healthier outcomes, PAOH will host an inaugural two-day meeting October 26-27, convening many of the world’s foremost experts from the fields of dentistry and disabilities-focused health care, as well as dental educators, advocates, and members of the disabilities community, public health and policy experts, and representatives from the dental industry. Together, these stakeholders will explore ways to improve access to oral health care for people with disabilities while advancing oral health literacy among the broader community.

Dr. Steve Perlman, founder of Special Olympics Special Smiles, will serve as the keynote speaker for the first day of the event, which will be held at The Viscardi Center in Albertson, N.Y. The day will feature panel discussions on accessibility and disability in health care, public policy trends at the intersection of oral health and disabilities, and the personal accounts of health care providers and members of the disabilities community.

Peter J. Klein, President The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation says “recognizing and addressing the need for better oral health care for people with disabilities is a stepping stone to a greater understanding and empathy within the dental community.  By providing the opportunity for ongoing professional development and an analysis of the delivery and payment systems, we hope to increase their access to quality care.”

The second day of the event, being held at the NYU College of Dentistry in Manhattan, will feature panel discussions on the global scope of the issue and the potential impact of successful collaborations. Rabbi Kalman Samuels, founder of the Jerusalem-based Shalva Children’s Center, will serve as the day’s keynote speaker. Shalva, a non-denominational organization that provides programming and care for children and adults with disabilities, will serve as the host for PAOH’s 2018 meeting in Israel.

PAOH is also supported by the Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders, Bedford Healthcare Solutions, Colgate, the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation, the Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund, the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, the New York State Dental Association Foundation, the Pacific Dental Services Foundation, and the Special Care Dentistry Association.

For more information about PAOH, including a series of blogs and a schedule of the meeting’s featured speakers and presentations, please visit



Applications Open! Long Island Imagine Awards Nonprofit Grants

The 6th  Annual Long Island Imagine Awards is scheduled for Tuesday, May 1, 2018, 6:00pm-10:00pm at the Crest Hollow Country Club, Woodbury, NY.  This gala event was created to offer formal acknowledgement to some of Long Island’s most effective and innovative nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits can apply to win a $5,000 grant in five categories: The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation Award for Arts and Culture, the Empire National Bank Award for Innovation, the Certilman, Balin, Adler & Hyman LLP Award for Leadership Excellence,  the Rising Star Award and the Cerini and Associates Award for Social Impact. Of the pool of applicants, 20 will be selected as finalists and one in each category will be awarded the grant LIVE at the awards ceremony on May 1, 2018 at the Crest Hollow Country Club. The deadline for applications is Monday, November 27, 2017.

The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation is pleased to support the Long Island Imagine Awards Arts and Culture Award category.  “Long Island arts and culture organizations provide a stunning array of creative and engaging programs for our community.  The foundation wanted to represent this award to shine a light on these agencies who have to compete for funding against other nonprofits,” said Peter J. Klein, President.

Click here to apply & for more information Long Island Imagine Awards


11th Annual Mildred & Samuel Levine Memorial Golf Classic

The 11th Annual Mildred & Samuel Levine Memorial Golf Classic raised over $825,000 for the children of Sunrise Day Camp – Long Island!  

The mission of the Sunrise Association is to bring back the joys of childhood to children with cancer and their siblings world-wide, through the creation of Sunrise Day Camps, Year-Round Programs and In-Hospital Recreational Activities, all offered free of charge.  For more information or to make a donation click here.




2017 Essay Contest Winners Announced

In keeping with Claire Friedlander’s wishes to promote tolerance and understanding, the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation is pleased to sponsor the 2nd Annual Life’s WORC and The Family Center for Autism essay contest in conjunction with Life’s WORC and Schneps Communications. All ninth through twelfth grade students currently enrolled at a public or private school in Queens, Nassau or Suffolk Counties were eligible to participate. More than 90 essays were submitted to the judging panel comprised of the following distinguished leaders:

  • Peter J. Klein, President, The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation
  • Gene Bernstein, CEO, Northville Industries Corp.
  • Kelly McMasters, Asst. Professor of English/Publishing Studies Director, Hofstra University
  • Janet Koch, Executive Director, Life’s WORC

This year’s essay question was: Why do autistic and developmentally disabled people become the targets of bullies, and how can my school and community prevent it?

All of the entries were fantastic, but the three winners stood out from the rest. Please click on their names below to read their essays.

First Place and winner of $3,000: Gilda DelBianco, 9th Grade, Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School, Riverhead

Second Place and winner of $2,000: Bridget Murphy, 12th Grade, Kellenberg Memorial High School, Uniondale

Third Place and winner of $1,000: Alexandra Hildreth, 11th Grade, Garden City High School, Garden City

The winners were celebrated at a reception, held at The Family Center for Autism, on May 31. For more information visit

View video here


Sunrise Day Camp to Honor Peter J. Klein

Peter J. Klein and the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation will be honored at Sunrise Day Camp’s 11th Annual Mildred and Samuel Levine Memorial Golf Classic on Monday, August 7, 2017 at the Seawane Club in Hewlett, NY.  “The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation is proud to support Sunrise Day Camp’s life-changing experiences for children with cancer. The day camp offers the campers the gift of freedom to be a kid,  whose life otherwise is filled with medical challenges.  That is priceless,” said Klein. Sunrise is also honoring Daniel Caltellano and Sean Simon.

Providing memorable summers since 2006 for children ages 3 ½ –16, Sunrise Association Day Camps bring the simple pleasures of childhood back to children struggling with cancer, changing months of loneliness and isolation into summers filled with sunshine, laughter and happiness. And because they are day camps, it allows children to continue their medical treatment and enjoy the comfort and safety of their own homes at night. There are currently seven Sunrise Association Day Camps — three in New York (Long Island, Pearl River and Staten Island), three in Israel (Beit Yehoshuah, Be’er Sheva and Ramat Yochanan) and Horizon Day Camp in Baltimore, Maryland.   Sunrise Association Day Camps are affiliated with 30 renowned hospitals and medical centers around the world.

The fun continues year-round with Sunrise Sundays and Fun-days, offering children exciting activities and events when school is not in session. For those children undergoing treatment in pediatric oncology units of participating hospitals, Sunrise on Wheels is a one-of-a-kind program that provides hours of Sunrise-fun.

Since 2007, the Annual Mildred & Samuel Levine Memorial Golf Classic has been a cornerstone of the Sunrise Day Camp – Long Island event calendar.  Each year, over 650 people gather at The Seawane Club in Hewlett Harbor to help raise the critical funds needed for children with cancer and their siblings to continue to attend camp free of charge.   This annual event is features a shotgun start that kicks off the day for over 300 golfers out on three separate courses, an afternoon of cards and Mah Jongg for over 200 and an exciting evening that includes a short program, dinner, silent and live auctions.

Click here for more information.


Tilles Center Kids Arts Education Program

Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post is Long Island’s premier concert hall and a valuable cultural resource. In addition to providing world-class programming for the Long Island community, Tilles Center is proud to support more than 15,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties each year through its Arts Education programs. Providing arts experiences for students in high-needs communities is a particular focus of the program. The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation’s recent grant to Arts Education at Tilles Center will help it sustain its programming initiatives including: master classes, school-time matinee performances, in-school workshops and residencies, and much more.

A constituent of LIU, Tilles Center hosts more than 70 performances by world-renowned artists in music, theater and dance each season. Among the artists and ensembles that have been presented by the Center are the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Big Apple Circus, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, James Taylor, the Paper Bag Players, Wynton Marsalis, and the MET Orchestra with James Levine. In addition, Tilles Center is home to important regional arts organizations including the Long Island Philharmonic and Eglevsky Ballet.

Tilles Center’s Concert Hall seats 2,242 and features orchestral performances, fully-staged operas, ballets and modern dance, along with Broadway shows, and all forms of music, dance and theater from around the world. Chamber music, cabaret, solo recitals, and theater productions for children and adults are presented in the more intimate 490-seat Hillwood Recital Hall.

The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation is proud to support Tilles Center as they continue to provide exciting and substantive cultural programming to our region.

For more information click here


East End Arts Wins Rising Star

The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation Rising Star Award was presented to East End Arts at the 5th Annual Long Island Imagine Awards. This gala event was created to offer formal acknowledgement to some of Long Island’s most effective and innovative nonprofit organizations. Over 175 nonprofit applications were submitted to win a $5,000 grant in five categories: Innovation, Leadership Excellence, Rising Star, Social Impact and the new Arts and Culture Award sponsored by the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation. Of this pool of worthy applicants, 20 were selected as finalists and one in each category was awarded the grant LIVE at the awards ceremony on May 2, 2017. The winners are:

Cerini & Associates Social Impact Award
• Pronto of Long Island, Inc.

The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation Arts and Culture Award
• East End Arts

The Certilman Balin Leadership Excellence Award
• Theresa A. Regnante, President & CEO – United Way of Long Island

Empire National Bank Innovation Award
• Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities (ACLD)

The Business Exchange Rising Star Award
• Angels For Warriors

Nerds That Care Fan Favorite Award
• Contractors For Kids

For more information visit Long Island Imagine Awards