Please click here for information on the 2013 competition requirements and process.
The Foundation believes that a commitment to positively impacting one's community is as important as academic achievement.
At the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, New York, Alexander's alma mater, the Foundation seeks to motivate students to make a difference in their world, with vision, determination, hard work, integrity, and heart.
Each year, in a competition among juniors, the Foundation awards a grant of up to $2,500 for a project to be implemented in a community of the student's choice. The inaugural competition was launched in January 2007, with the first award announced in May.
Katie Dubbs’ project is to establish an a capella program in a Bronx public high school and to provide instruction to students with limited access to music education, to help them “get the confidence that singing and performing brings.” She has chosen the Bronx Center for Science and Math, and is working with the arts department coordinator and a dozen students who eagerly signed up for rehearsals, after she played them an a cappella version of a song they knew. She is also organizing an a capella festival, to be held at Horace Mann on April 9, 2010, in which many of the NY Independent schools will participate, to raise money for BCSM so that this program can continue.
In Katie’s words: “A capella singing is unique in that the group members must work together as a team and are self-led. Students learn to collaborate and to make the sound happen as a team effort…singing can make a difference in peoples’ lives…I may not change ten or twelve schools in one year but I can ensure that I can change one.”
Lauren Tomasulo received Honorable Mention for her project to create a multi-borough support group and activity program for adolescents, from 8 to 13 years old, who are deaf and/or blind. "I want to get to know these children very well and have an intense passion to help them and guide them through their lives. This project would enable teenagers to make a big difference in others' lives, while strengthening and fulfilling themselves."
The 2008 award went to Lydia Singerman, who developed a ceramics program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Child Life Department for young transplant patients who must remain in relative isolation. Combining her love for ceramics with passion and commitment to “provide a little relaxation, attention, and normalcy” to children who have few activities to look forward to, she visited boys and girls, ages 5 to 18, and, using non-toxic clay and colors, sculpted with them. “It was a great connector, a great equalizer. It gave [us] a way to talk on a comfortable level. [Ceramics] is a relaxing art form, a good release…These kids don’t get many visitors. I provided a new, friendly face.”
The Foundation supported two additional important initiatives. Elizabeth Goodstein worked throughout the year to expand awareness of a form of cardiac arrhythmia, called Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome, which is often the cause of sudden death in young athletes. Under the auspices of the American Heart Association and a leading cardiologist, she developed information materials and a program to present to student and parent audiences in the New York area to spread understanding of WPW, and what can be done to identify the syndrome.Jeremy Paduano developed an impressive and ambitious “Building for Change” project, seeking to bring together students from the U.S. and the Middle East to build housing in post-Katrina New Orleans, under the aegis of Habitat for Humanity. He also sought to raise funding for Habitat by approaching Sovereign Wealth Funds in the Gulf. Fluent in Arabic, he met with, and elicited positive responses from representatives of these funds. Unfortunately, this fundraising effort was set back by the world economic crisis.
Sloane Heller was awarded the first Alexander Capelluto Award on May 1, 2007. Over the course of a year, Sloane led a group of students from the Women’s Issues Club to visit a local battered women’s and children’s shelter in the Bronx. The purpose was to work and play with the children, bringing them educational activities that their mothers cannot provide, and in so doing, allow the children to forget their immediate circumstances and, in Sloane’s words, “just be kids, something every child deserves.
This project focuses simply on bringing joy to children who have precious little to be joyful for. Our events will not only allow these children to laugh, play, and generally be children, but also give their mothers some much needed time to relax.”
A second award was given to Isaiah Einzig, who developed Operation Santa. A couple of weeks before Christmas, Isaiah brought in “Dear Santa” letters from 22 families with children aged 5 months to 14 years. Many letters, some from mothers, asked for warm clothing. In Isaiah’s words: “Some of the letters are extremely heart-warming, and really make you appreciate what you have. College, grades, and everything else doesn’t matter, we all need to appreciate our families and the simple things in life we have.” There was a great turnout of HM students. They wrapped presents, including footballs, remote-controlled cars, building blocks, and clothes for the children, and composed letters from Santa in return.