Markovitz family creates legacy for the Valerie Fund children
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Markovitz family creates legacy for the Valerie Fund children

Barry Kirschner, left, the Valerie Fund’s executive director, with Darrel Terry, the president of Newark Beth Israel, child-life specialist Jillian Hinko, and donors Marilyn and Monroe Markovitz. (Courtesy Valerie Fund)
Barry Kirschner, left, the Valerie Fund’s executive director, with Darrel Terry, the president of Newark Beth Israel, child-life specialist Jillian Hinko, and donors Marilyn and Monroe Markovitz. (Courtesy Valerie Fund)

Marilyn and Monroe Markovitz of Short Hills wanted to leave a permanent impact on their community. “We want to leave some evidence that we were here on this earth,” Mr. Markovitz, who is nearing his 90th birthday, said. That’s why the Markovitz family is establishing the Marilyn & Monroe Markovitz child life specialist as a permanent position at the Valerie Fund Children’s Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. That’s the hospital where Marilyn Markovitz was born 87 years ago.

“I feel strongly that when people have enough, they should want to give back,” Ms. Markowitz said. “This is a philosophy that was transmitted to us, which our sons also absorbed. We are in a very fortunate position to be able to give back. I would even go so far as to say it is mandatory.”

Barry Kirschner, the Valerie Fund’s executive director, said, “What a wonderful experience to meet such a generous family from our local community who wanted to understand our kids needs and then permanently support a specific program with their philanthropy. We could not be prouder.”

As they learned more details about the kinds of psychosocial services the Valerie Fund offers, the Markovitzes directed a $1.8 million gift. It would ensure that the fund’s children always will have the guidance of a child life specialist to accompany them throughout their medical journeys, to offer age-appropriate education about their illness and treatment, and to provide friendly distractions during difficult procedures.

The Markovitzes raised their own four boys in Hillside while Monroe established a successful real estate business in Union. The boys, now grown with their own families, chose to honor their parents following the sale of the family business by creating a legacy at the Valerie Fund, which Marilyn learned about from a friend who is also a Valerie Fund supporter. It was important to establish a lasting imprint on an organization that served families in their local community and had a clear and direct impact. Although their sons were pivotal in establishing this new position in their parents’ name, they want none of the recognition.

Jillian Hinko, CCLS, who has been at the Valerie Fund Children’s Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center for more than a decade, is the first person to hold the position of Marilyn and Monroe Markovitz Child Life Specialist.

The Valerie Fund was established in 1976, after Sue and Ed Goldstein’s 9-year-old daughter Valerie died of cancer. They were determined that no family should have to travel great distances to receive superior medical care. Along with a group of close friends, they began fundraising efforts from their living room. That work led to the 1977 opening of New Jersey’s first pediatric oncology facility at Summit’s Overlook Hospital.

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