Perry Rosenstein (1926-2020)

April 25, 2020
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Perry Rosenstein with Bryan Stevenson and Neal Rosenstein (ALBA/Puffin Award 2014)

We write in mourning for the loss of our dear friend, Perry Rosenstein, Founder and President of the Puffin Foundation, Ltd., who passed away in Teaneck, NJ on April 3 after a brief struggle with the COVID-19 virus.

A successful self-made businessman who was born into a family of Polish immigrants and had grown up in poverty in the Coops cooperative in the Bronx, he remained passionate about assisting have-nots in all walks of society, but especially artists and arts organizations that were often excluded because of “race, gender or social philosophy.” It was in this context of arts—the creation of a major exhibition of Spanish Civil War posters “Shouts from the Wall”—that Perry first befriended ALBA in 1994 and became a partner in shaping our education and cultural programs.

Neal, Gladys, and Perry Rosenstein with Emilio Silva (ALBA/Puffin Award 2015) and Marina Garde.

Together with his wife, Gladys Miller Rosenstein, and son Neal Rosenstein, Perry graciously supported a wide range of ALBA’s activities—from the annual ALBA/Susman Lecture series (which recently featured Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha) to traveling exhibitions of Children’s Art in Wartime; from ALBA’s innovative Teaching Institutes focusing on anti-fascism to the prestigious ALBA/Puffin Prize for Human Rights Activism (which has honored Bryan Stevenson, Baltasar Garzón, and Florida’s Coalition of Immokalee Workers, among others). With Perry’s support and approval, this year’s award will be given to No More Deaths, an organization based in Arizona that assists refugees seeking asylum in the US.

Perry’s Foundation, founded in 1983, has also supported environmental organizations (notably the Teaneck, NJ Conservancy); the Puffin Activist Gallery at the Museum of the City of New York and exhibitions on the history of labor in New York and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Another area of Perry’s interest were progressive media outlets, such as the Type Media Center, Democracy Now!, the Nation magazine, Jewish Currents, and In These Times.

What made Perry’s contributions unique was the range of his vision. He welcomed new ideas and new organizations, even as he cherished his left-wing background and heritage. He was one of a kind, a man with a broad outlook for the future and a strategy to accomplish it. His legacy will endure in the good work of his Foundation.

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