City Harvest is the product of common sense. In the early 1980s, a group of ordinary citizens
became troubled by the large number of fellow New Yorkers who didn’t have enough to eat.
When they saw that local restaurants were discarding perfectly good food, these volunteers
responded by enlisting friends and borrowing cars to transport the leftover food to where it
was needed most. This idea led to the creation of City Harvest in 1982. An early supporter,
Otto Walter was also instrumental in creating the New York’s landmark “Good Samaritan Law”
in 1981 holding the donors of perishable and non-perishable food harmless, a necessary
requirement for the founding of City Harvest.
Human Rights Watch advocates on behalf of victims of human rights abuse around the globe.
The Walter Foundation was instrumental in helping Human Rights Watch open an office in
Berlin, anchoring its presence in Germany and significantly enhancing its ability to raise
interest in and awareness of international human rights violations. From the new Berlin office,
HRW has advocated for improving respect for human rights in Uzbekistan and other countries
of Central Asia. It has supported the establishment of the UN’s Human Rights Council,
replacing the highly discredited UN Commission on Human Rights.
Mount Olive Food Ministry, Slidell, Louisiana – When the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina
subsided from the streets of Slidell, one the first things noticed during the recovery process
was the complete devastation of the social safety net. While many homes and businesses
were flooded or destroyed, the most severe impact was on the poor. The demand for services
provided by Mt. Olive increased, but the facilities had been destroyed. A collaboration
between an African – Methodist – Episcopal (AME) congregation, Rotary Clubs, and the Otto
and Fran Walter Foundation created a new building, with kitchen and equipment to feed more
than 300 people daily.
University Settlement Society-Founded in 1886, the University Settlement Society sits at the
heart of the Lower East Side and continues to serve new immigrants and economically diverse
families with a wide variety of neighborhood based services. Most of the 20,000 participants
are struggling with unemployment, language barriers, isolation and housing and education
issues. A grant from the Walter Foundation led to the creation of Rise to Action, the Society’s
home domestic violence program which offers victims of domestic abuse an array of services
including community outreach and advocacy, legal representation, intensive case
management, educational opportunities, group therapy sessions, and more - all leading to
safety and independence in a caring and culturally sensitive manner.