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Ruth and Samuel Markoff Fund
By Jean Cohoon / December 31, 2013 /   Loading Disqus...
In 1906, Samuel Markoff established what became one of the largest greeting card companies in the world. Located in an old mill at the Pawtucket-Central Falls line, The Paramount Line, Inc. employed more than 400 people. Samuel's three brothers and their children, his wife Ruth and their three daughters, as well as their grandchildren all worked at one time at Paramount.

“My grandfather was an artist. He would draw a picture, they would print it on a card, and then it would be hand colored,” explains Ted Winston, one of the grandsons. Samuel Markoff died in 1932, but the company remained in family hands until it was sold in 1983.

“My grandmother was a vibrant person with a strong commitment to the Rhode Island community,” Ted continues. “During the Depression she ran the North End Dispensary which provided free medical care to the poor. Later, during World War II, she started and ran The Council House which offered free housing for visiting wives and sweethearts of servicemen who couldn’t afford a hotel. She was a strong, charitable woman and had three like-minded daughters.”

Daughters Dorothy Nelson, Bernice Gourse, and Gloria Winston established the Ruth and Samuel Markoff Foundation following Ruth’s death in 1978. “The foundation was created to remember our parents in the community. They taught us the importance of volunteering to improve the lives of others,” says Gloria. Bernice adds, “We wanted the Markoff family’s charitable giving to continue for generations to come.”

With the transfer of the Foundation to this donor advised fund, the next generation of the family – Ted and two of his cousins –assume responsibility. Gloria explains “We want our children to experience the importance of charity as a way of life and we appreciate the excellent leadership at the Rhode Island Foundation.”

Bernice notes, “The roots of our family are in Rhode Island. We'd like to continue our parents' philanthropy where their legacy began.” Dotty, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, concludes, "The Markoff family is proud to be a part of our community's future with the Rhode Island Foundation."
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