NJ SEEDS Board of Trustees, 2002 – Present | Chair of the NJ SEEDS Board of Trustees 2006 - 2011
Bobbie and Lew Frankfort have been dedicated supporters of New Jersey SEEDS since 1999.
“Both Lew and I believe in New Jersey SEEDS as strongly now as we did when we began our involvement. If anything, the sheer number of graduates and the incredible success stories have only cemented our resolve to continue supporting the organization. We can now follow the lives of students from their entrance to our programs through their careers.”
A few years before she first joined the SEEDS Board of Trustees, Bobbie Frankfort was finishing up her tenure as the President of the Tenafly Board of Education. She and her husband, Lew, had raised their three children in Tenafly, and Bobbie was very engaged in what was considered to be one of the best school systems in New Jersey. “Because of my role, I was very aware of the great inequities in the school systems in our state. I received a call from David Jeffrey, my neighbor in Tenafly and a SEEDS Trustee. He asked what my next act would be, and urged me to explore the world of SEEDS. I was hooked immediately, relishing the idea of supporting an organization that was changing the lives of children whose school experiences were vastly different from those of the students in Tenafly.”
SEEDS brought together Bobbie’s professional interests and her desire to serve children in need of a better education. With a Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of education, past experience teaching in a Brownsville elementary school, and a tenure as an Assistant Professor of Education at Brooklyn College, Bobbie was well-positioned to become one of the organization’s leaders. She became a Trustee in 2002, and became Chair of the Board in 2006.
In the nearly 20 years since she has been involved with SEEDS, Bobbie has made a lot of memories. “It’s hard to point to any single one…of course, the events where I spoke to students on the Trustees’ behalf and helping to conceive new ways to reach more students – the College Preparatory Program, for example – are a few. I very much enjoyed working with Amy Ziebarth, our Executive Director, in those years. Also, I liked the close relationship with the Board members. Thanks to our enhanced alumni programs, we have stayed in touch with so many SEEDS graduates, and I was thrilled to welcome our first SEEDS alums to our Board.”
For Bobbie, SEEDS is a family affair. “In addition to the time I have given to SEEDS, because of Lew’s professional success, we have been able to contribute financially as well. With Lew’s introduction of SEEDS, Coach has employed many SEEDS students as interns and then, after college, has hired some. Lew and I value our philanthropic life and have passed that on to our children very consciously. All three have been involved at some point in SEEDS – primarily with the Young Leadership Committee – and have become close friends with some of the students that they met. While we encourage our children to seek their own passions, we know that SEEDS is close to their hearts as well.”