Through life enhancing opportunities
for individuals and families
The Butler Legacy
The J.E. & Z.B. Butler Foundation was created in 1954 and remains a living legacy to Zella and Jack Butler and their deep commitment to New York and the Jewish community.
In 1939 their only child, Barbara, was born with severe developmental disabilities. As there were few options for people with disabilities at that time, Barbara was cared for at the Devereux School in Philadelphia from the age of four until she died in 1993. The Butlers' first-hand knowledge of the challenges encountered by individuals with disabilities and their families led to their lifelong commitment to insuring that people with special needs had access to programs that would enhance their lives. For years, Zella read to blind university students helping them realize their academic dreams in spite of their disabilities. Zella often said, “I have graduated from
most of the colleges and universities in the New York area by osmosis.” Jack was a man of humor and grace who had a special rapport with young people, serving as their mentor and friend; his devotion was unconditional. Together they opened their home for Shabbat dinners and holiday celebrations to young and old. Family and strangers became friends around their table. Jack’s favorite saying was, “There is always room for one more. Just add some water to the soup!”
Upon their deaths, the proceeds from their estates provided the resources to build a network of programs and services that create life-enhancing opportunities for individuals and families. Over the years, physically and mentally challenged persons, children and families at risk, victims of abuse and neglect as well as frail, elderly individuals have been the beneficiaries of their generosity. The Foundation is committed to continuing their vision with diligence, compassion and creativity.