North Star Fund

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North Star Fund

Long time leader

Betty Kapetanakis died in 2002, after 15 years at the helm of the North Star Fund.[1]

The staff, the Board of Directors, the Community Funding Board, the Advisory Board, and the grantee and donor community of the North Star Fund mourn the tragic death of our beloved Executive Director. We extend our most profound condolences to Betty's wonderful, loving and supportive family. A lifelong, tireless champion of social justice, gender, racial and sexual equality, workers' rights, empowerment, internationalism and peace, Betty was an inspiration to all of us in the progressive activist community. In her 15-year tenure at the North Star Fund she helped raise and distribute millions of dollars to thousands of grassroots organizations in New York City. She was our source of strength, our beacon, our North Star.

35th Gala

In 2014, at Chelsea Piers, North Star Fund held its annual Community Gala. This 35th Anniversary Community Gala was a spectacular celebration of North Star Fund and the achievements of our diverse community of philanthropic and grassroots activists and organizers. The event raised $870,000, which broke every previous record.

North Star Fund honored the following individuals for their leadership in activism and social justice: Dr. Gail Furman, psychologist specializing in child and adolescent psychology, activist, and donor supporting progressive political candidates and issues at the local, state, and national level; Peggy Saika, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, and founding executive director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network; and William Traylor, President of Richman Housing Resources LLC, and a leader in the development of affordable and supportive housing in New York City.

Brooklyn Food Coalition was honored for their dedication to a just and sustainable food system, promoting food justice, and blazing a trail to integrate environmental justice with food democracy. Communities United for Police Reform was honored for their campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers, and activists to strategize, share expertise, and take action.

North Star Fund’s honorees’ commitments to making New York a more fair and just city came through with every word. Their grantee partners, donors, and colleagues mixed and mingled for social justice, and as Executive Director Hugh Hogan reminded everyone: “North Star is a place where we come together to celebrate and support a world of equality, opportunity and glorious diversity. Our community has accomplished so much over the last three and a half decades, and we need to stand up and boldly say that every New Yorker has a stake in deciding how our city will operate if we want a real grassroots-led democracy.”

Notable guests included Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray, Katherine Acey, Nisha Atre, Martha Baker, Andrea Batista Schlesinger, Jay Beckner, Ingrid Benedict, Bill Bragin, Peter Brest, Art Chen, Bobby Cohen, Joe Conason, Larry Condon, Anne Delaney, Maddy deLone, Deni Frand, Elizabeth Gilmore, Elspeth Gilmore, Mark Green, Gary Hattem, Pierre Hauser, Michael Hirschhorn, Sarah Kovner and Victor Kovner, Dal LaMagna, Josh Mailman, Christine Marinoni, Christina McInerney, Pam McMichael, Ruth Messinger, Cynthia Nixon, Shola Olatoye, Ana Oliveira, Erica Payne, Lisa Philp, Mark Reed, Rinku Sen, Tani Takagi, Elizabeth Wagley, Michael Waldman, Maggie Williams, Barbara Winslow, and Kyung Yoon.[2]


  1. [1] NY Times Obituary, August 1, 2002, accessed July 12, 2010
  2. MY Social Diary 2014. North Star Fund