Louis Boxer returned from his harrowing World War II service as a front-line combat medic determined to help better the lives of young people and to fight the forms of prejudice he had seen and experienced during those years. He decided to study psychology. He put himself through college and a PhD program at night, became an expert on teen development, and served many years as the much-beloved school psychologist at Brooklyn Technical High School.
He was also, unbeknownst to his extended family, a careful long-term saver who had stewarded an educator’s income into a not-insignificant sum. When Louis died in 2007, his family wanted to do something purposeful to memorialize what had been so vital about him – his commitment to children’s education and to helping students struggling against financial and other hardships.
His niece, Ronnie Ragen, set out to investigate ways of honoring Louis philanthropically. “We figured we’d create a scholarship at my uncle’s school in Brooklyn. But public schools often aren’t equipped to receive, track, and preserve endowment gifts, and I wasn’t getting much response to my inquiries. I decided to ask the Community Foundation for advice. In the course of their helping me identify suitable programs, I realized that a Community Foundation fund was the best way to honor Lou, without our family’s having to navigate a lot of legal and administrative complexities on our own. I know some families who do that, and they talk about how much work it is.”
Ronnie, her parents, and her three siblings set up the Dr. Louis B. Boxer Memorial Fund to support inner-city children. “We are using Lou’s fund to bring out-of-the-ordinary educational opportunities to Trenton kids who otherwise might not have these experiences,” she says. “The Community Foundation made it happen fast. I felt really comfortable with their investment management and their knowledge about the most effective, best-run local charitable organizations where a donation will be well spent.
“The Foundation has an enlightened outlook that really takes care of this community in a very generous way—for example, upping grants now, when nonprofits are hurting, rather than reducing them.”
Louis Boxer was born in the last year of the First World War. In World War II, he earned a Bronze Star for bravery under fire while rescuing wounded soldiers. He died on a Memorial Day and was buried with full military honors. He was a genuine, selfless hero, who in time of peace became a generous and successful mentor. His life’s work was marked by a deep dedication to young people, which goes on through the lives of the youths being helped by the fund that bears his name.