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Perry Rosenstein: WSJ Donor of the Day
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Donor of the Day

Grants for Artists Outside Mainstream

The Puffin Foundation Teams Up With the Nation Institute

By
Melanie Grayce West
connect
Dec. 8, 2013 8:51 p.m. ET

From protecting ancient trees to supporting artists, musicians, dancers, peace activists and investigative journalists, Perry Rosenstein is supporting work outside the mainstream.

Through his Teaneck, N.J.-based Puffin Foundation, Mr. Rosenstein, 88 years old, has as his mission to fund "as many different areas of expression as possible," he says. Largely, he funds progressive or liberal work. The Bronx-native says that he attended his first protest as a boy atop his father's shoulders.

"I happen to be one of many people that believes in our country and our democracy," said Mr. Rosenstein. "I feel that if democracy is threatened, we are all threatened."

Perry Rosenstein

On Monday, the Puffin Foundation and Nation Institute will award a $100,000 prize to Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The award will be given at the annual Nation Institute Gala in New York. Mr. Lynn's work is being acknowledged because of his efforts to protect religious freedom.

The Puffin Foundation, with more than $14 million in assets split between two independent entities, were seeded with the fortune Mr. Rosenstein made in the Allen screw business. He got into the fasteners industry as a salesman. As he made the rounds on his accounts, he found several buyers who wanted diversity in Allen screws. He saw an opening in the market and began making screws in Japan.

As an outsider in the industry, he faced stiff competition in the business.

That experience has partly informed his interests in providing grants to artists and thinkers who do not usually secure grant money from more traditional foundations. He says he wants to make the fight a fair one.

Another area of inspiration for Mr. Rosenstein is the puffin, a bird that was endangered in the U.S.

Years ago, a number of groups joined together to protect the puffins and preserve their nesting habitat. He sees that collaborative effort, of which he was a part and provided funding to, as a model for society.

The Puffin Foundation interests are nationwide. The foundation has a named gallery at the Museum of the City of New York and supports a center for human rights at the University of Washington.

Hundreds of grants are given out annually and Mr. Rosenstein and his wife, Gladys Miller-Rosenstein, go to the foundation's office daily. They use their lunch hours for business meetings so they can have 10 hours to the workday, said Mr. Rosenstein.

With such a large funding portfolio and deep interests in a variety of causes, is there anything Mr. Rosenstein doesn't like? "Hypocrites, right-wingers, reactionaries," he said.

Write to Melanie Grayce West at melanie.west@wsj.com

 
Climate Change Spells Peril For Puffins
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Red full article at:http://blog.nwf.org/

With its distinctive appearance, the Atlantic puffin has been endowed with colorful names—from “sea parrot” to “the clown of the sea,” and even “sea rooster.” Nicknames aside, these tuxedoed waddlers are causing increased concern and sounding a now all-too-familiar alarm from the natural world about the growing consequences of climate change.

The puffin is a robust little bird with sad-looking triangular eyes of a crying clown matched with its large triangular beak (which changes from gray to bright orange in breeding season) and its slick-backed cranial feathers that give it a don-like hairdo. Needless to say, this bird’s quite the looker and has become a fan favorite. The Atlantic puffin can do it all: they are excellent swimmers, sleek flyers, skilled hunters and whimsical waddlers. Even their name is endearing.

Puffins Face Dramatic Decline


However, for the cute little round-bodied bird that has captured the affection of so many admirers, times are tough and their lives are increasingly perilous. A recent article by the Associated Press announced that puffin populations have seen a dramatic decline in the United States and other parts of the world as sea temperatures continue to rise.

Scientists have recorded declining survival rates for puffin fledglings (as if they weren’t cute enough, baby puffins have an equally adorable title—they’re called pufflings!) in Maine’s two largest colonies. Furthermore, the largest puffin colony in the Gulf of Maine, which lies just 10 miles off the coast, has suffered increased health degradation amongst adult puffins. Emaciated birds have washed ashore by the dozens from Massachusetts to Bermuda and could signal a worsening future for the bird as well as other migratory birds facing similar challenges spurred by climate change.

Like the many migratory birds that have had to literally shift their way of life, the puffin is finding it more difficult to find its major food sources as fish populations are displaced as ocean temperatures warm, causing mismatches in prey-and-predator relationships and shortages in the abundance of herring, their primary food staple. A marked deficit of roughly 5% annually has been recorded in the presence of herring in the diets of puffin populations. Many puffin populations are filling the void by hunting and feeding their young butterfish, which are now more abundant in the area as they too react to changing conditions. But, young puffins are simply unable to swallow these larger fish and many have died of starvation.

Low birth rates, high fledgling mortality, food supply disruption coupled with recent unprecedented die-offs, delayed breeding seasons, and rapid habitat destruction caused by more frequent and extreme ocean conditions could prove crippling for puffins and many more of our feathered friends.

Migratory Birds at Risk from Climate Change


A new report by the National Wildlife Federation details the effects rapidly changing climate is having on migratory birds across the country. Shifting Skies: Confronting the Climate Crisis, goes into greater detail on the potential damage climate change can have on critical migratory bird habitat, their main food resources, and the timing and direction of their migration patterns. Puffins are not the only birds in peril.

  • Birds’ ranges are shifting and in some cases, contracting. 177 of 305 species tracked have shifted their centers of abundance during the winter northward by 35 miles on average in the past four decades.
  • Coastal wetlands and beach habitats, home to birds like king rails and piping plovers, are disappearing, inundated by sea level rise.
  • Global warming is exacerbating pests and disease, such as mountain pine beetle epidemics that have devastated many western forests resulting in mass losses of key habitat.
  • Changing precipitation patterns threaten the Midwest’s prairie pothole region, known as “America’s duck factory.” Many ducks such as mallards and pintails face disappearing breeding habitat.
  • To learn more about how the climate crisis is affecting our nation’s migratory bird populations, check out the full report at www.nwf.org/BirdsAndClimate.

     
    The Bergen Museum of Art & Science presents an exhibit of the Rock 'n' Roll Photography of Alan Rand
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    The exhibit is at the Bergen Performing Arts Center located at 30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood, NJ 07631. Reception is Tuesday, October 8, from 5 to 8 PM and will include music, live entertainment and refreshments. The exhibit is featured at the Intermezzo Gallery of Bergen PAC and will run from Oct 2nd to Oct 30th, The Gallery is open to the general public Monday through Friday, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Saturday 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

    The exhibit is free however the Bergen Museum of Art & Science is accepting donations to help fund the event.

    Donations can be made here on the museum's page for the show thebergenmuseum.com

     
    Happy New Year
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    Happy New Year to our Jewish Friends and Neighbors. Our best wishes for Peace, Health, and Happiness in the year 5774.

    -The Puffin Foundation, Ltd.

     
    Gallery Closed for August
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    The gallery will be closed until early September for minor renovations and routine maintenance.

     
    Event Cancelled: Andrea Wolper Quartet
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    Unfortunately this Sunday's performance by Andrea Wolper has been cancelled. We will be reschedule.

    Sign up for the email list to hear about performance news first! Email tix@puffinfoundation.org to sign up.

     

    Thank you

     
    Puffin Fights to Commemorate Historic Oak
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    The Record: Bough to history


    article via northjersey.com

    DAYS MAY be numbered for a large, historic red oak that has deep roots in Teaneck's past, but if science is any indication, and a little luck holds, the tree may live on as more than memory. Even as its likely demise is being calculated — Bergen County is planning to chop it down, due to decay and significant loss of its root system — a cohort of arborists, advocates and tree experts are exploring options for cloning the giant tree that holds so much history.

    As Staff Writer Denisa R. Superville reports, there is a chance to take cuttings from the oak and use them to produce genetically identical copies. This is hopeful news for tree lovers in Teaneck and elsewhere. Such cloning has taken place successfully through the years, though experts agree that matching the 250-year-old northern red oak might be more challenging because the plant group in general has proved difficult to clone in the past.

    Nevertheless, at a time when too many of our old trees are being thoughtlessly lost, we applaud efforts, including those from the Puffin Foundation, to keep the red oak alive and to save its identity in the township. The tree's residence at Cedar Lane and Palisade Avenue predates the American Revolution. Over the years many people have fought to save it from developers, and an ordinance earlier this year gave the tree official historical status.

    "Nobody wants this tree to go down," said Todd Mastrobuoni, a certified tree expert, master arborist and tree risk assessor, who suggested cloning it. "And at least, if we can come up with something — that it's not a total end to it — it will be worth the time and effort."

    Jason Grabosky, an associate professor of ecology, evolution and natural resources at Rutgers University, who was contacted by the Puffin Foundation, said three methods of cloning are under consideration: taking terminal cuttings from the tree and using growth hormones to initiate rooting; taking small branches and storing them in an environment with adequate humidity, in the hope they will eventually grow shoots; and using the sprouts that will be generated once the tree is cut down.

    The odds, decidedly, are not good. And yet there are enough cloning successes, not only in New Jersey, but even with the famous cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington, to bring hope. The ancient oak has proved a hearty soldier in Teaneck for more than 250 years. Here's hoping its offspring follows suit.

     
    Power of the Pen at the Museum of the City of NY
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    Thursday, May 2 at 6:30 pm
    The Power of the Pen: Literature and Politics During The Great Depression
    at the Museum of the City of New York

    During the economic crisis of the 1930s, the written word became an activist political tool. America’s “proletarian literature” movement produced novels, poems, essays, and manifestos that promoted social reform and even political revolution. Why did many writers feel the need to become political and what was the effect of their work? Join noted essayist, fiction writer, film critic, and poet Phillip Lopate for a conversation about literature and politics with distinguished critic Morris Dickstein, Professor of English, CUNY, and Linda Gordon, Professor of History, NYU, author of Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits (Norton, 2009).

    Co-sponsored by the Department of History, NYU and the CUNY Center for the Humanities and presented in conjunction with The Puffin Foundation's Activist New York exhibition at the museum.

    RESERVATIONS REQUIRED
    $6 Museum members; $8 seniors and students; $12 general public

    For more information or to register by phone, please call 917-492-3395

     

     
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