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January 2018

Connecting & Honoring

The 2018 Winter Gathering continued the feeling of connectedness — among scholars, staff and supporters — that has been part of the Scholarship Plus vision from the beginning. But there were also new elements this year, including the introduction of new staff members and the honoring of an individual who has been central to our foundation and growth.

Expressing the gratitude of Scholarship Plus to Marshall Goldberg, Soma Golden Behr recalled how the Iowa-born Mr. Goldberg had come to New York and, after retiring from a successful business career, devoted his efforts to philanthropy, especially to building housing for the homeless. “His desire to make things more equitable for others,” said Soma, the co-founder of Scholarship Plus, “is what led him to us.” Muska, who is entering her final semester in the Honors Program at City College — and will spend it in France — represented our scholars in thanking Mr. Goldberg “for everything.”

In his remarks to the group, Mr. Goldberg emphasized the importance of “connection and connectedness.” He spoke of the pleasure he had taken in making a fundraising presentation to two financial executives he had first known as 12-year-olds playing baseball with his own children, and who three decades later were quick to see the importance of helping others. Turning to the Scholarship Plus supporters in the room — many of them his good friends — he said, “If I had a glass, I would raise it to toast all of you.”

To thank Mr. Goldberg, and to encourage young people to follow in his footsteps, Scholarship Plus will name one of the students chosen each year the Marshall Goldberg Scholar, chosen as someone who, in the words of our Executive Director, Kate Fenneman Stokes, “shares Marshall’s commitment to giving back to their community.”

The other business of the evening was the introduction by Ms. Fenneman Stokes of two new staff members. Anna Antoniak, Senior Director, a graduate of Amherst College as a Seinfeld Scholar and New York University, joins us after a decade working in higher ed administration and international education at NYU. Aixin Li, a Smith College graduate who was a member of the Scholarship Plus class selected in 2013, is a part-time staff member providing administrative support. 

With the evening’s formalities over, scholars, alumni and supporters went back to visiting — another great example of connectedness. A number of guests, including members of Mr. Goldberg’s family, gathered around to examine the book that had been given to him as a token of our gratitude. The book contains photographs of those whose lives have been changed by Scholarship Plus, and is titled: Because of You.

To donate to the Marshall Goldberg Scholarship, please visit our Giving page or contact the Executive Director, Kate Fenneman Stokes, at or 917-749-2127.



Photographs by Michael J. Leahy



Marshall Goldberg, the honoree, with his wife, Gale, at right. At far left and right, Melanie Rosen Brooks, Co-Founder and Director and Soma Golden Behr, Co-Founder and Senior Advisor, with Kate Fenneman Stokes, Executive Director.


Kate Fenneman Stokes introduces our newest staff member, Aixin Li, a Scholarship Plus recipient who recently graduated from Smith College.


Two current scholars, Roselkis, a freshman at the State University at Oneonta, and Shuofei, a Binghamton University sophomore, compare notes.


Muska, who is a senior in the City College honors program, with Marlen Amaro, a New York Times Scholarship winner and Carnegie Mellon University graduate who heads our Associates Board.


Muska and Tasmia pay attention to a point being made by Marshall Goldberg in response to remarks by Kate Fenneman Stokes, visible in the mirror.


Surrounded by friends, and longtime Scholarship Plus supporters, Mr. Goldberg talks about the importance of “connection and connectedness.”


Anna Antoniak, at center right (and in profile at far right) is introduced as the new Senior Director of Scholarship Plus.


Connectedness: Fran Lester, a volunteer since our beginning; Amar Ramroop, a New York Times scholar now a financial executive and member of our Associate Board; and Tasmia, a student at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering.


 Aixin, our newest staff member, makes a point to Thema, a junior studying mechanical engineering at Boston University.


Elira, an NYU graduate who is now in finance, left, and Itzel, who is working with a legal defense organization after graduating from Haverford.


The evening’s honoree, surrounded by family members. 


Next: Rooftop Drinks to Celebrate Scholarship Plus