Today is the third annual Giving Tuesday, the day when Americans are urged to make charitable contributions — and when many philanthropies encourage them with matching campaigns.
It’s also the first since Sol Adler, one of the initiative’s key champions, committed suicide.
As the longtime executive director of New York’s 92nd Street Y , which in 2012 co-created Giving Tuesday in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, Adler was active in promoting the project.
His numerous media appearances on behalf of Giving Tuesday include the below video on 3200 Stories, the “digital venue” of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.
Yet the first Giving Tuesday was the only one in which he played a public role: In July 2013, after 25 years on the job, he was fired by the venerable Manhattan Jewish cultural center. His termination followed revelations that he’d had a long affair with his assistant, whose son-in-law — the Y’s former director of facilities — was implicated in a kickback scheme involving the Y’s vendors.
Less than a year later, Adler hung himself in his Brooklyn home. His widow, Debbie Adler, is suing the Y, alleging contract violations and employment discrimination. Her lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan in September, claims the Y “turned its back on Mr. Adler immediately upon learning that he had been diagnosed with depression,” and that its handling of his dismissal “served only to exacerbate Mr. Adler’s depression, which led to multiple suicide attempts.”
The story was recently featured in a lengthy article in New York Magazine.