A Tribute to a True Philanthropist

Sam Friedlander.

I first met Sam Friedlander in the spring of 2000. He was returning from a

visit with his doctor at Cabrini Medical Center. He was 87 years old, slightly hunched over, but had a sparkling twinkle in his eye. As we began to talk, I soon discovered that I would be embarking on a relationship with an amazing man that had the kindest of hearts and a true zest for life.

A native New Yorker, Sam worked professionally as a CPA until his retirement. He was determined to give back to charitable organizations in New York that helped his family while he was growing up during the Great Depression. Throughout his life, Sam and his wife Bertha always gave back to the many organizations that provided them with excellent health services.

On my travels to New York we would have lunch together at the Cabrini Medical Center cafeteria where he would update me on his many activities and various health issues. We would then visit with Sister Lucille Souza, Sister Bernadette or Josephine Tlatelpa Geraci in the Foundation office.

In later years, his walking became more difficult but it did not stop him from making the trip from his home in Flushing to the east side for his medical appointments at the Cabrini Medical Center. One beautiful spring day we walked the streets of Manhattan and visited Beth Israel Hospital, another one of his favorite charities. He was very proud to show me his name on the wall and to introduce me to the development staff.

In the summer of 2003, on a trip to Houston to visit his niece who worked at The Methodist Hospital, he walked into the development office and surprised the entire staff by making a charitable gift annuity contribution. The gift would be used to support the work of the very famous and highly respected physician for whom his niece worked. They were grateful and surprised! However, they were a new foundation and weren’t ready to establish a charitable gift annuity donation. That didn’t stop Sam, he told them to accept his donation as an outright gift.

Sam attended several of our wonderful Cabrini Gala celebrations, often being taxied by Access. Everyone always enjoyed talking with him and marveled at his energy and enthusiasm.

In recent years, as his movements became more difficult and his eyesight weakened, his caretaker Minnie made the trips with Sam. He was determined to get outside, attend recognition luncheons and celebrations as often as he could.

Sam made the first gift to the Cabrini Foundation charitable gift annuity program and subsequently set up five charitable gift annuities. As an accountant he often commented, “Where else could I make a charitable donation and receive an income for life?”

Sam passed away in July of this year, at the age of 97. We will all deeply miss our dear and generous friend who embodied the true spirit of philanthropy.

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