January 3, 2022

University Names Notable Philanthropists Ronnie F. Heyman and Lois Pope Women of Distinction

PBA News

Palm Beach Atlantic announces Ronnie F. Heyman and Lois Pope as its 2022 Women of Distinction, an honor recognizing women who’ve made significant philanthropic contributions to the community.

Their selection will be celebrated during a luncheon Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022 at The Breakers, Palm Beach. Proceeds benefit scholarships for outstanding female Palm Beach Atlantic students. Tickets may be obtained from the Palm Beach Atlantic Office of Advancement by calling (561) 803-2971 or visiting the Women of Distinction webpage.

Heyman is a successful attorney, corporate executive and dedicated benefactor who has distinguished herself in art, business and philanthropy. She is chairman of GAF Corporation, the country’s largest manufacturer of residential roofing and building materials. She serves as president of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Modern Art and supports efforts to keep MoMA’s focus on accessibility of the museum to children through her endowment of the Heyman Family Art Lab.

She pioneered a number of charitable initiatives alongside her late husband, Samuel J. Heyman. In 2001, they founded the Partnership for Public Service in Washington to address the need for reform in government agencies, streamline the federal hiring process and aid in presidential transitions. The Heymans also established fellowship programs at both Harvard and Yale law schools.

This year’s honorees are philanthropists with local and national impacts. Heyman, a Palm Beach resident, is a trustee of the Norton Museum of Art and the Society of the Four Arts and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Chairman’s Circle. She was the first recipient of the Evelyn H. Lauder Humanitarian Award of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Lois Pope, a Manalapan resident, is recognized as one of the country’s foremost advocates for veterans, especially disabled veterans. She spearheaded the legislation, building and endowment of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, the nation’s first permanent, public tribute to living disabled American veterans and all those who have died. She worked with Congress to pass a resolution declaring Oct. 5 of every year a “National Day of Honor” for disabled veterans. She also conceived, funded and executive produced two PBS films, “Debt of Honor” and “VA: The Human Cost of War,” directed by six-time Emmy Award winner Ric Burns.

She advocated for legislation that allows American soldiers to bring home dogs that served alongside them in combat. She also created the Pups4Patriots initiative within the Lois Pope LIFE Center for Military Affairs. The program takes dogs, primarily from shelters, and provides them with specialized training to become therapy dogs given to veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other traumatic brain injuries.

Pope’s love for animals and advocacy for their welfare led her to give $1.5 million to the Tri-County Animal Rescue to endow its 9,000-square-foot veterinary center, which provides low- or no-cost veterinary care to pets from low-income families.

With the impact of COVID-19 in mind, Pope made a $1 million donation to the Palm Beach County Food Bank to endow its meal program for children in the county. In gratitude, the bank renamed the program Lois’ Food4Kids. She later gave another $50,000 to the program.

She is the driving force behind the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine, home to the Miami Project/Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, a center for research, treatment and services for paralysis and other neurological diseases.

Pope has given $12 million to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute to create the Lois Pope Center for Retinal & Macular Degeneration Research at Bascom Palmer’s Palm Beach Gardens campus. Pope made the gift, the largest ever received by Bascom Palmer, in memory of her mother, who suffered from macular degeneration prior to her death.

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