As one of America’s leading philanthropists, Lois Pope has positively impacted the lives of individuals at the local, national and international levels. She has established three different organizations dedicated to helping those in need and improving the lives of the voiceless and vulnerable in our society. They are the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE), and the Disabled Veterans’ Life Memorial Foundation.
Mrs. Pope is widely recognized and deeply respected as the nation’s foremost advocate for disabled veterans; in fact, she has earned the moniker “The Pope of Disabled Veterans.” She created and spearheaded the legislation, building and endowment of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which was dedicated on October 5, 2014 in Washington DC as the nation’s first permanent public tribute to the four million living disabled American veterans and all those who have died. She also conceived and funded “Debt of Honor,” a PBS film by award-winning documentarian Ric Burns that chronicled the history, treatment, and personal stories of disabled American veterans from the American Revolution to present day. And she is now working with Mr. Burns on a documentary about the controversial history and contemporary problems of the Veterans Administration, a film she also conceived and is funding. Simultaneously, she is working with members of Congress to have October 5, the anniversary of the Memorial’s dedication, designated as an official national day of support, honor and gratitude to disabled American veterans.
Mrs. Pope is also an ardent supporter and Board member of American Humane Association, for which she helped advocate for language in the National Defense Reauthorization Act that included for the first time provisions to bring back to U.S. soil military dogs who served alongside American soldiers on the front lines of combat so that they can be reunited with these soldiers as service and therapy dogs. The bill was passed and signed into law in November 2015, making it the third piece of national legislation Mrs. Pope has promoted.
Her lifelong commitment to veterans and animals is further embodied in her endowment of the Lois Pope LIFE Center for Military Affairs under the aegis of American Humane Association. The Center, the first of its kind in the world, comprises an array of treatment, support and research programs and services to cement the bond between the two and four legged heroes who have served in our country’s Armed Forces. The Center is the latest manifestation of her leadership on behalf of American Humane Association; she is also the presenting sponsor of the annual American Hero Dog Awards and she has provided the resources for the expansion of AHA’s legendary Red Star Emergency Services program, which offers, in two Lois Pope Red Star Rescue mobile hospitals, on-the-ground rescue, treatment, and shelter for animals lost, displaced, or neglected during natural disasters and situations of severe animal abuse. Moreover, she is currently advocating for the shutting down of puppy mills in America.
Mrs. Pope is the driving force behind the establishment of the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine, home to the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis/Buoniconti Fund–the world’s foremost center for research, treatment, and services for paralysis and other neurological diseases.
In addition to her work with American Humane Association and American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, Mrs. Pope’s foundations have also provided awards for medical research, college scholarships, summer camps for thousands of disadvantaged children, humanitarian relief, the performing arts, and animal welfare. Among the many organizations that have benefitted from her leadership are Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s Red Cross; Weizmann Institute of Science; City College of New York, and the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League. The village of El Triunfo in Guatemala has a new clean water system, while young refugee women displaced by the Sudanese war now have a home in the U.S., both thanks to her Foundation’s efforts
Mrs. Pope has been honored numerous times for her dedication to improving the world around her; among the many organizations that have conferred their most prestigious awards upon her are Florida Atlantic University, Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Ellis Island Foundation, Chestnut Hill College (her alma mater), Rabbinical College of America, Magen David Adom, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Mrs. Pope was named a Daily Point of Light recipient by President George H.W. Bush, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell appointed Mrs. Pope to the Board of the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at the City College of New York. She also serves on the Boards of the Foreign Policy Association, University of Miami, Palm Beach Opera, Armory Arts Center and Florida Atlantic University.
A mother and a grandmother, Lois has trained for and completed five New York City Marathons.