Perry Rosenstein, the uncle of New Jersey CWA state director Hetty Rosenstein, died this morning from COVID-19. He was 94.
Rosenstein founded the Puffin Foundation, a Teaneck-based progressive non-profit that he self-funded to provide funding for the arts and culture. The group provided over 400 grants to projects that his niece said would have been lost without him.
He was the creator of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, which preserved the history of Americans who fought against Franco and fascism, and started an awards program that recognized individuals and groups that impact human rights. The Puffin Gallery for Social Activism is a permanent exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.
According to his niece, Puffin has provided $100,000 annually to the National Associates for a creative citizenship award. Recipients have included Reverend Barber, Ben Jealous, Colin Kaepernick, the Parkland Students, the Sunrise Movement.
“Teaneck has had a special place in Perry’s and the Foundation’s heart, where they helped fund the Teaneck Creek Conservancy, the Teaneck Film Festival, the Pete Seegar statue, and provided funding to protect “Irwin’s Tree”, the 300 year old oak tree watched over by the late Irwin Weinberg, husband of (Senator) Loretta Weinberg,” Hetty Rosenstein wrote on Facebook. “The Puffin Room was a frequent location for community art exhibits, music, theatre, and more.”
Rosenstein was born in the Bronx, the on of Polish emigrees “who instilled in him a tremendous work ethic and a passion for social justice,” his website biography said.
He served in the South Pacific during World War II. He was a graduate of Indiana University and received his masters degree from Long Island University.
A businessman, he “developed a system of manufacture and distribution that revolutionized the field of fasteners.”