Giving Thanks to Delores Levin
Edmund Zimmerman first met Dee in person in 2003 at the San Rafael studio of artist Kay Russell at an open house for Kay’s upcoming La Romita workshop. Edmund recalls Dee as “flamboyant and enthusiastic”, and her first visit to La Romita cemented her as a friend. She was warm and kind, and many have shared stories of the ways she gave to those around her, most importantly her time and attention.
She fell in love with La Romita on that first visit and so returned in 2006 with Charlotte Attebery.
On this visit, she approached Enza and Ben and intimated that she had been diagnosed with cancer and was looking for ways to help good things continue beyond her passing. How could she help?
We have always endeavored to keep our costs as low as possible, but we know that even so it’s just not feasible for some to attend no matter how important the experience could be. Ben suggested that some way to help students cover some portion of their costs would help us advance our mission beyond the limits of our program services.
When she passed in 2008, she bequeathed $50,000 to La Romita to establish a scholarship fund for “individual scholarships for deserving art teachers”.
With this gift came the responsibility to become good custodians of the entrusted money. We immediately established some basic financial controls to safeguard the bequest, but soon found that we lacked a suitable process and criteria for handling scholarships. More importantly, we lacked time to develop and oversee one; our Board is all volunteer, and it’s quite a job to keep things running even with the incredible staff we have.
Fortunately, among our friends were some individuals with impressive, relevant backgrounds who were willing to donate their time and expertise. In 2016 we formed the Scholarship Committee and tasked them with developing an appropriate process for accepting, evaluating, and awarding scholarships in accordance with the directives of Dee’s bequest.
With our Scholarship Committee formed, we also had a structure to oversee the disbursal of other donated monies more effectively, so we set up our second, “General” scholarship funded from Program Services and non-restricted donations.
To date, our biggest donor to the General Fund has been Harold “Ben” Benson, president of the LR BOD and husband of founder Enza Quargnali. His generosity, too, has helped individuals to attend La Romita, and he’s looked for other opportunities where those funds can encourage others. La Romita School routinely donates to Ball State University to allow them to help students attend their bi-annual workshop abroad with us.
Dolores Levin’s generous act has not only benefitted many of our students directly, but has also resulted in our creating new frameworks to extend our mission and improve how we function.
We are terribly honored and grateful for her support, and proud with what we’ve managed to do with it.
You can read more about how the Scholarships have helped through the links below: