Phyllis Korn Wins 2016 Farash Prize

Phyllis Korn, an inveterate champion for the rights of domestic abuse victims, has been awarded the 2016 Farash Prize for Social Entrepreneurship sponsored by the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation. The prize is accompanied by a $100,000 gift to the winner’s affiliated nonprofit organization.

Her award was announced in ceremonies Tuesday, Nov. 1 at the Dryden Theatre, George Eastman Museum.

“Phyllis Korn is a social entrepreneur whose visionary and unwavering efforts changed our community’s response to victims of abuse in Monroe County, statewide, and nationally,” said her nominators. “With grit, perseverance, and a calling to protect and empower victims, Phyllis was instrumental in enacting legislation and policy changes, and building a strong coalition of law enforcement, medical, faith, and social service agencies to create a comprehensive response to domestic violence in our community.”

 “Social entrepreneurs deserve to be honored for the way they creatively change our community for the better,” said Nathan J. Robfogel, chair of the Farash Foundation. “Phyllis Korn’s tenacity, passion, and courage comprise a lesson for us all.”

“We are blessed with bold social entrepreneurs who are committed to making a difference,” said the Rev. John Wilkinson, who chaired this year’s prize selection committee. “Our committee was overwhelmed by the number of individuals and organizations who are doing creative and diligent work to make an impact in the lives of our neighbors.

“We selected Phyllis Korn because her vision—sparked early on and developed in the face of significant cultural and political resistance—gives voice to the most at-risk among us and provides invaluable services in vulnerable moments.”

 As executive director of Alternatives for Battered Women—now known as Willow Domestic Violence Center—Korn opened the organization’s first domestic violence shelter in 1979, when it was only the third in the state. With even more profound effect, Korn began to change public attitudes about domestic violence and began to transform the practices and responses of local police agencies and courts. Under her leadership, ABW also started the Children’s Program to support children of survivors. In 1995, in collaboration with the Legal Aid Society, she oversaw the creation of the Court Advocacy Program at Family Court.

She was one of four finalists for the 2016 Farash Prize, which rewards the efforts of an outstanding social entrepreneur in the community, in order to encourage others to emulate those efforts and to honor the entrepreneurial spirit of businessman Max Farash. Other finalists were William J. Daubney, president & CEO, Hope Initiatives CDC Inc.; Sister Diana Dolce, SSJ, founder and executive director, Hope Hall; and Robert Pieters, co-founder and past president, Heritage Christian Services.

In 2012 the Farash Prize was awarded to Thomas C. Ferraro, founder and executive director of Foodlink and in 2014 the prize went to Sister Christine Wagner, SSJ, co-founder and executive director of St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center.

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 Residents of Rochester for virtually all of their lives, Max and Marian Farash cared deeply about their community. In 1988, they established the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation (www.farashfoundation.org), which makes grants to nonprofit organizations in Monroe and Ontario Counties, half of them for Jewish projects and programs.