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Anonymous Donor Gives $150K To Complete FDR Hope Memorial

By Shaye Weaver | August 12, 2015 2:24pm
 The FDR Hope Memorial will finally come to fruition thanks to a $150,000 donation.
The FDR Hope Memorial will finally come to fruition thanks to a $150,000 donation.
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Courtesy the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association

ROOSEVELT ISLAND — A disabilities group that's been waiting three years to raise enough funds to erect a Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial in a local park has finally secured enough to make it happen.

An anonymous donor has supplied the remaining $150,000 needed to complete the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association's statue of the former president in FDR Four Freedoms Park, according to Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright.

The individual recently approached Seawright, who has garnered grants for the project, about funding its completion and agreed to provide the rest of the money needed, she said.

Jim Bates, the association's president, told DNAinfo in July that the group had only raised $125,000 of the $300,000 project from private donations and grants from the Roosevelt Institute and Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright.

"We are really excited that we've just been blessed with an anonymous donor," he said Wednesday. "We would like to thank them. Myself and the whole [association] board are really excited because we worked very hard. We are just real thrilled and humbled by receiving this money."

Titled the FDR Hope Memorial, the statue will depict the former president sitting in a wheelchair and extending his hand to a young girl walking with crutches and leg braces. The memorial would face the United Nations building across the East River as a nod to Roosevelt's contribution to creating the U.N.

The memorial is meant to honor the strength of people with disabilities in overcoming struggles and adversity.

The new funds will enable the association to hire sculptor Meredith Bergmann full-time to complete the statue and send it to a foundry to be bronzed, Bates said.

It's likely the installation would take place in the late spring or early fall of 2016, Bates said, since the group doesn't know how long it will take the statue to be bronzed.

Once it is in place, the association will hold a ceremony, Bates said.

The association pitched the idea for the work in 2012 to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, a state-run agency in charge of the day-to-day operation of the island, and Community Board 8 — both of which approved the plan at the time.

Bates said he knows nothing of the donor.

"I am thrilled that we were able to work with a remarkably generous constituent to finish this extraordinary memorial,” Seawright said in a statement. “This is just another shining example of the incredible unity that exists in our district and I could not be prouder.”