Teresa LeCount, led the restoration of Bissel Gardens in The Bronx

Teresa LeCount, led the restoration of Bissel Gardens in The Bronx in the early part of the 2000s. She watched her area of The Bronx change from a great place to live to a place riddled with crime, garbage and drugs over the 32 years she lived there and decided to improve her neighborhood. She founded the Bissel Gardens as a non-profit organization to oversee the use of the land. The garden occupies a 5 block area near the train station that had become a dumping ground. She was able to get the support of her Borough president, Fernando Ferrer,… Read More

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Isabella Graham, founded Academy for Women in 1789

Isabella Graham (July 29, 1742 – July 27, 1814) was a Scottish-American philanthropist and educator. In 1765 she married Dr. John Graham, an army surgeon in the Royal Americans regiment. Two years later, she went with him to Canada. They had three daughters and two sons, one of which died in infancy in Scotland. The surviving children were; Jessie, Joanna Bethune, Isabella and John. She traveled the world with her husband, but after his death in 1774, she returned to Scotland while pregnant with her 5th child. She never remarried and raised her children while remaining in service to the church… Read More

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Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage, philanthropist

Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage supported herself by teaching for over 20 years in Syracuse New York.  In 1869 at age 41, Olivia Slocum married Russell Sage, a widower, financier and robber baron who was 12 years older than she. They had no children. Ms. Sage became involved in activities in which her role as his wife defined her.  In 1906 Sage died and left his entire fortune of about $70 million to her, which was unrestricted for her use. In his name she used the money for philanthropic purposes. She established the Russell Sage Foundation in 1907 and founded the… Read More

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Abraham Abraham, business man, department store founder

Abraham Abraham (March 9, 1843 – June 28, 1911) was an American businessman and the founder of the Brooklyn department store Abraham & Straus, founded 1865. The chain, which became part of Federated Department Stores, is now part of Macy’s. At 14, he worked in his first department store,  Hart & Dettlebach of Newark, along with Simon Bloomingdale and Benjamin Altman for $1 a week. Abraham opened Wechsler & Abraham in Brooklyn in 1865 at 297 Fulton Street.  The company later became Abraham & Straus. He became a Brooklyn philanthropist, establishing the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, among many other causes. Please… Read More

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Johanna Bethune, philanthropist, educator

Johanna (Graham) Bethune co-founded the New York Orphan Asylum at Barrow and Fourth Streets with Mrs. Alexander Hamilton  and started the city’s first school for “young ladies.” She gave the city the land for Bethune Street, in the West Village, which is named for her. Ms. Bethune is often described as an “early 19th-century philanthropist and educator who ceded the land for the street to the city.” This and the school allowed African students and at times over 50% of the students were black. One of the first opportunities for black children in the early 1800s to attend free school. Bethune… Read More

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Elias Karmon, Mr. Bronx

Elias Karmon, known as “Mr. Bronx” for his long dedication to the borough, was a businessman, civic leader, civil rights advocate and philanthropist, Karmon was one of the borough’s biggest boosters through its darkest days and its renaissance. For 40 years he was the proprietor of Hollywood Clothes at Prospect Ave. and 163rd St., and then began buying buildings, getting involved in important civic causes, doing good deeds. Karmon belonged to the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. He served as president of the original Bronx Chamber of Commerce for four years, and also held the positions of treasurer, second vice-president and… Read More

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