NEW YORK, Sept. 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In an emotional ceremony at a fundraiser just steps away from Ground Zero, Howard & Abby Milstein were honored by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum for "Distinction in Civic Innovation and Renewal."
The award was presented on September 4, 2019 at the Memorial & Museum's annual benefit dinner, hosted by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and late-night host Seth Meyers. Also honored were Russell and Judith Carson, who were presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which received the organization's "Visionary Distinction" award.
The Distinction in Civic Innovation and Renewal award recognized the Milstein family's enormous contributions to the civic life of New York City and its surrounding communities, as well as to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, where Mr. Milstein serves on the Board. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the Milstein family and their companies—including Emigrant Savings Bank, which was also honored—were instrumental in supporting relief and recovery efforts.
"I have been lucky to know Howard and Abby Milstein for a very long time," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Both their family and Emigrant Savings Bank have been incredibly generous supporters of the Memorial & Museum."
Mr. Bloomberg added: "Many people write generous checks, but the Milsteins participate financially, intellectually and emotionally" in advancing civic causes.
Howard Milstein said: "Over the years, we have been fortunate to have received recognition from many groups for our leadership and philanthropy, but this award tonight is very special."
In his remarks, Howard Milstein recounted in personal terms the impact the 9/11 attacks had on his family and his companies.
"It was a personal tragedy for Abby and me, as we lost our dear friend, Neil Levin, then Executive Director of the Port Authority, as well as the husband of another dear friend Christy Ferer," Mr Milstein said. "It was a personal tragedy for several colleagues in our business who lost daughters in their 20s that day."
More than this, Mr. Milstein said, "It was an event that called on all of us New Yorkers to step up and do whatever we could to help our city cope and recover and heal. It called for new kinds of contributions to our city."
"When the worst happened, it was natural for us to pitch in with all of our resources."
Following the attacks on the World Trade Center, Milstein buildings in Battery Park City provided rest areas and food for first responders. An undeveloped piece of land was used as a staging area to restore its damaged phone lines and cell phone repeaters. Mr. Milstein donated hundreds of rooms at the Milford Plaza Hotel, which was a major gathering point for donated supplies that were delivered to the World Trade Center site. The Milstein family also donated funds to ensure that each of the 3,000 victims' families received a piece of World Trade Center steel that was part of a memorial sculpture by Brian Hunt. That sculpture is part of the permanent collection of the memorial.
On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Milstein family gave a permanent home to the statue "The Kneeling Fireman" in front of Emigrant Bank's headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. The memorial is dedicated to the hundreds of first responders who gave their lives on 9/11. Emigrant Bank funded an education program to help calm the City at a time of high emotion.
"9/11 was a day like no other in our lifetimes, or in our city's history," Mr. Milstein said. "Our city's response has made all of us New Yorkers very proud. Abby and I, our family, and our bank are deeply honored to have played a part."
About the Milstein Family and Emigrant Bank
Howard P. Milstein is the third generation to lead the Milstein family business and philanthropic activities. An entrepreneurial builder of innovative, large-scale companies, Milstein's ability to marshal business, government, philanthropic, and family resources drives a breadth of initiatives. Milstein is Chairman and CEO of New York Private Bank & Trust and its operating bank, Emigrant. He also chairs and operates the Milstein family's real estate companies, and is owner and publisher of GOLF Magazine, among other sports-related businesses.
Abby Milstein is an attorney and law firm partner who chaired the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) for more than 18 years (she remains a board member). Each year, NYLAG provides free civil legal assistance to 90,000 New Yorkers who cannot afford a private attorney. Abby is also Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Chair of the Executive Committee of the New York Public Library, and served as an Assistant Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs.
Emigrant Bank is the largest private, family-owned and operated bank in the United States. The bank was founded in 1850 by the Irish Emigrant Society to serve the needs of New York's growing immigrant community. Emigrant played an important role in the history of New York, financing the building of most of New York City's churches, as well as Central Park and other city institutions. The Milstein Family saved the bank in the 1980s during an earlier banking crisis. Today Emigrant continues to serve the needs of underserved communities throughout the New York metropolitan area.
SOURCE Emigrant Bank