New Rochelle Public Library Foundation
Guardian Gala Raises More Than $100K

NRPL Foundation President Chris Selin with Dr. Irwin Redlener, Karen Redlener and NRPLF Vice President Lynn Green

The New Rochelle Public Library Foundation held its Guardian Gala on Thursday, May 12th at the Greentree Country Club in New Rochelle. The evening  — which included cocktails, dinner, dancing, and a silent auction – was emceed by  CBS TV reporter Tony Aiello and raised in excess of $100,000 to keep the library vibrant, up-to-date, and able to serve the needs of the citizens of New Rochelle. 


NRPLF’s Guardian Award was presented to Karen and Irwin Redlener, dynamic crusaders for children’s healthcare and strong public health advocates. Former New Rochelle residents, the Redleners – along with legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon — founded the Children’s Health Fund in 1987 to serve critical unmet needs of children in New York’s homeless shelters. In addition, as Director of Columbia University’s Center for Disaster Preparedness Dr. Redlener has been in the forefront of educating the public about the COVID pandemic. 


At the Gala the Redleners announced the formation of a new initiative, the Ukraine Children’s Action Project (UCAP), designed to provide urgent mental health and educational support to Ukrainian children who are either refugees in Poland or internally displaced in their own country—all fleeing a humanitarian crisis and brutal war. Co-founded by Dr. Irwin Redlener and Karen Redlener, UCAP is working with the City of Warsaw and a range of organizations on the ground to address the critical and growing needs of the more than 150,000 traumatized Ukrainian kids seeking refuge in Poland and displaced in their own country. UCAP will partner with schools and special programs in Poland and Western Ukraine to implement “summer language and enrichment sessions for Ukrainian Children”, on-line learning opportunities, nutrition programs and support for children with disabilities. 


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The Guardian Award was created to recognize individuals whose careers and lifetime accomplishments exemplify the mission of public libraries: Providing free and open access to information and to a broad variety of ideas and viewpoints. Like journalists Fareed Zakaria and Tom Goldstone, the first recipients in 2019, both Karen and Irwin Redlener believe that America’s schools and libraries must aggressively embrace this role, now more than ever.


The Gala also recognized three other NRPLF supporters: The Foundation’s Community Service Award was presented to Ellen and Steven Sonet, longtime volunteers and supporters of the Foundation’s mission, and Judith Factor, NRPLF Board Member who is the Executive Director of Friends of Karen.


The New Rochelle Public Library Foundation (NRPLF) was established in 1994 to support the Library and all that it provides to the city’s diverse community of approximately 80,000 residents. A nonprofit organization comprised entirely of volunteer members, the Foundation raises resources and provides advocacy to keep this vital institution able to serve the needs of the citizens of New Rochelle.  


For more information visit the NRPL website at