Oran M. Roberts
United Daughters of the Confederacy®
Houston, Harris County, Texas
Carolyn Freedman Shulman Farb is nominated for the Judah P. Benjamin Award given by the United Daughters of the Confederacy®, which is awarded to individuals for outstanding endeavors in the fields of civic/community service, conservation, education, the environment, humanitarian efforts and patriotic service.
Carolyn Farb is an internationally known fund-raiser, author, businesswoman and philanthropist. During the past 35 years, she has raised over $30 million for a number of charities and worthy causes, the majority of which are based in Houston and benefit local organizations. Her hard work and devotion to others have earned her the nickname “the first lady of philanthropy.”
Ms. Farb’s interest in helping others began early in her life; as a teenager, she volunteered at the snack bar at Texas Children’s Hospital. Her beloved grandfather, Jake Freedman, a businessman in Houston and Las Vegas, who fostered her spirit of giving.
Ms. Farb began her fund-raising activities in the 1970s, when she worked with groups such as the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation, the Alley Theater, and KUHT (PBS), Houston’s public television station.
Her zero-budget philosophy, her attention to detail and her enthusiasm enabled her to raise record amounts of funds for numerous humanitarian and medical conditions. She was the first person in Texas to raise $1 million in one evening, for the Stehlin Foundation for Cancer Research’s “Million Dollar Evening.”
In 1987, Farb chaired “An Evening of Hope” for the Bering Community Service Foundation, which benefitted AIDS patients. Until that time, this disease had received scant positive attention and very little funding.
Ms. Farb’s efforts has increased public awareness of another devastating disease, neurofibromatosis and she has chaired two fund-raisers: “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” and “I’ve Got a Crush on You.”
Additionally, she has chaired several events benefitting the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, including “Marvin’s Million Dollar Dream” for prostate and breast cancer research. Other health-related recipients include the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation, the American Paralysis Association, the Leukemia Society of America, Cancer Fighters, United Cerebral Palsy, the Arthritis Foundation, the American Cancer Society and the March of Dimes.
Ms. Farb’s other humanitarian activities have included fund-raising for various women’s and children’s causes, the homeless and animals. These include the Ms. Foundation’s Stars of Texas Gala, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the Pink Ribbons Project, Dancers in Motion Against Breast Cancer. Farb has worked in conjunction with the Rotary Clubs International to raise funds for Nicaraguan children devastated by earthquakes and has chaired several UNICEF events. Other recipients include the Girl Scouts of America, the Star of Hope Mission, the Children’s Miracle Network and the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Ms. Farb’s work has also enriched the arts and educational communities in Houston. She has raised money for the Alley Theater, the Contemporary Arts Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Houston Grand Opera and the Society for the Performing Arts, among others.
She chaired the fund-raising campaign for the Byzantine Fresco Chapel, which was specially constructed to house medieval frescoes in danger of destruction. This was a significant historical preservation effort as the chapel is the only repository for intact Byzantine frescoes in the entire western hemisphere. These masterworks from the 13th Century -- a dome and an apse -- were ripped and stolen out of a chapel near Lysi in the Turkish occupied section of Cyprus in the 1980s, cut into pieces, and smuggled off the island by thieves prepared to sell them piece by piece. The fresco fragments were rescued from the thieves by The Menil Foundation with the knowledge and approval of the Church of Cyprus, the rightful owner of the frescoes. Funds were used for the painstaking two-year restoration of the paintings and the building of the chapel in Houston, which was designed especially for the frescoes by architect Francois de Menil.
The University of Houston has benefitted from her efforts: the “Quest for Excellence” in 1999 raised funds to create an endowed chair in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and the “Blueprint Ball” in 2003 to create the Philip Johnson Endowed Chair in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.
Ms. Farb has received numerous accolades for her work. These include the Volunteers of America’s Outstanding Human Service Award, the YWCA’s Woman of the Year Award, the Dr. Robert Graves Award from the Thyroid Society for Education and Research, the David and Sybil Yurman Humanitarian Foundation Thoroughbred Award and the Challenger Center Seven Award. In recognition for her work on behalf of neurofibromatosis patients, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center created and endowed a permanent visiting professorship in neurofibromatosis in her name. She was named a Distinguished Woman by Northwood University and was inducted into the Texas Philanthropy Hall of Fame.
In 2003, Northwood University awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities.
Ms. Farb has served the community in roles other than fund-raiser. She has served on numerous boards of directors and advisory boards in Houston, including the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the Harris County Hospital District, the Greater Houston AIDS Alliance, the High School for Visual and Performing Arts, the Houston Public Library and the Rothko Chapel Foundation.
She is an accomplished writer who has contributed articles to Andy Warhol’s magazine, Interview and to Brilliant magazine. She has written two books on fund-raising: How to Raise Millions, Having a Ball, Helping Others in 1993 and The Fine Art of Fundraising: Carolyn Farb’s Secrets for Successful Volunteers in 2004. Ms. Farb has been involved in film and television projects, and served as associate producer for the film, Dorothy Hood: The Color of Life.
Please review Ms. Farb’s detailed Curriculum Vitae, which lists her Civic, Cultural/Arts, Honors and Awards, Journalism/Media Projects, Book References, Media Appearances, Past and Present Memberships.
Whether speaking to various organizations throughout the United States or writing articles or books, Carolyn Farb has provided wisdom, persuasiveness and leadership on many important community issues facing all Americans. She is a person whose life best characterizes what we all strive to achieve: honesty, integrity and dignity. She excels in all of these areas and is known for her loyalty, dedication and hard work.
She projects a warm, cheerful attitude and she goes out of her way to help people in need and lift the spirits of those around her. Carolyn Farb is easily the most compassionate person I know and she loves helping people. She is a tireless promoter of various causes and is always among the first to volunteer. Most of all, Ms. Farb is a person of integrity and high moral standards. Through her creativity, inspiration and hard work, she has enriched the cultural life of our great nation.
Because of Carolyn Farb’s long-term commitment to cultural, educational, humanitarian, patriotic, historical and environmental conservation, I would like the honor to nominate her for this award. Of all the candidates nominated for this annual award, none strikes me as more deserving and qualified the Carolyn Farb. We offer our endorsement of her for the Judah P. Benjamin Award.
The Judah P. Benjamin Award is presented to honor the Secretary of State of the Confederate States of America. It consists of a certificate awarded to individuals for outstanding endeavors and achievements not necessarily related to the Confederacy in the following fields: civic / community service, conservation, education, the environment, humanitarian efforts and patriotic service.
In 2001, the award was approved at the 108th Annual General Convention held in Columbia, SC. The first award was presented in 2002 at the 109th Annual Convention held in Richmond, VA by President General Mrs. Frank I. Silek to Dr. O. James Lightehizer, President of the Civil War Preservation Trust.
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