In early December of this year a group of 70 people came together to talk about finding ways to create a community of healing and mutual support. The venue was a kick-off event for the Hilltop Cares Foundation, chaired by Marjorie Kaufman. In attendance were alumni, parents, school administrators and students of the Horace Mann School, which educates children from nursery school through 12th grade.
Vice Chairman Joe Rose founded Hilltop Cares in the wake of a June, 2012 New York Times Magazine article. Marjorie Kaufman, who is chairwoman of the foundation, then became chair in 2014. The article brought to light a disturbing pattern of abuse of students by teachers at Horace Mann, the prestigious Bronx private school, which had taken place in the 1990s and before. Most of the teachers who were guilty of the abuse have since died, but the victims are still alive and have formed into advocacy groups to try to get financial help from Horace Mann to help pay for therapy or to compensate the victims in other ways.
At the December event Ms. Kaufman said that Hilltop Cares will “provide support for alumni who suffered abuse at the school years ago, to support their therapy, as well as to bring about some healing to the whole Horace Mann community.”
Kaufman stated that all the funds raised by the foundation will go towards funding psychological therapy for the victims of the abuse who would otherwise not be able to afford such therapy. She added that the foundation is especially useful since it operates as an independent entity not connected to the school.
“There are significant negative sentiments held by some alumni in the wake of the revelations of sexual abuse at the school. As an independent entity we don’t get involved with that at all, and we are here to directly help people that were hurt” Marjorie Kaufman stated.
Hilltop Cares is now in the process of planning a benefit event which will take place at the school, hopefully in May.