Two major gifts from Karen Binkoff Winnick ’68 and her husband, Gary Winnick, are strengthening the University community. Funds from the Winnicks greatly expanded the capabilities of the Literacy Corps, a student work-study program that provides tutors for Syracuse-area children, and will make possible the construction of a new home for Syracuse University Hillel, the campus center for Jewish life and worship.
Architect's drawing of the Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life
courtesy of the hillel center and babcock design group
“In all our giving to Syracuse, we’ve endeavored to support students,” Karen Winnick says. “We believe the best education affords people the opportunity to make the most of themselves. The Center for Public and Community Service and Syracuse Hillel educate the minds and spirits of Syracuse students. We hope our gifts will enable both programs to offer even more.”
A graduate of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Karen Winnick is an author and illustrator of children’s books. Based in Los Angeles and New York City, Winnick and her husband, a venture capitalist who chairs Global Crossing, support many philanthropic causes. The Winnick Family Endowed Scholarship Fund, established by the family in 1992, provides support each year for a Syracuse freshman from a public high school.
The Literacy Corps, part of the federal work-study program America Reads, is run by the University’s Center for Public and Community Service (CPCS). Even before CPCS received the Winnicks’ gift, the center’s director, Pam Heintz, acted with the knowledge that support was on its way. Heintz, who usually oversees 30 student literacy tutors during the academic year, opened the door to 100 tutors and hired the necessary staff. “We were doing what we could with our 30 tutors, but the community need is so great,” Heintz says. “Knowing we had the new gift, we were able to expand, respond to the community, and act on proposed partnerships. The funds also helped meet our tremendous transportation needs.” Tutors from the Program work in 27 area schools and two community sites. The literacy program has been renamed the Karen B. Winnick Literacy Initiative at Syracuse University.
The couple’s other major gift kicks off a building project and campaign for Syracuse University Hillel. Currently housed in the lower level of Hendricks Chapel, Hillel provides services and programs to meet the religious, cultural, and educational needs of the University’s Jewish students, who come from diverse backgrounds. The Winnicks’ gift will lead to construction of a new home for Hillel: the Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life.
Groundbreaking for the center, which will stand on the corner of Harrison Street and Walnut Place at the campus’s northern border, will take place in March 2001. The center will open in January 2002. While considerable funds from the Winnicks will enable the center’s construction, a multiyear campaign for Hillel will seek to raise additional money from Syracuse alumni and friends to support activities in the new facility.
The Winnicks serve as honorary chairs of the campaign. Campaign co-chairs are Syracuse alumni and trustees Marvin Lender ’63 and David Flaum ’75. The project’s architect is Fred Babcock of the Babcock Design Group in Park City, Utah. Babcock has participated in a dozen Hillel projects, including two he’s now working on at Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania.
To receive a free copy of Commitments, Syracuse University's newsletter about the Commitment to Learning campaign, please write or call Chris Beattie at 820 Comstock Avenue, Room 100, Syracuse, NY 13244-5040. Telephone: 315-443-2865. Those interested in making a gift should contact Lansing G. Baker, senior vice president for University Relations, at the same address and phone number.
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