01 Nov Lois Pope: GIVING LIFE HOPE
By Dean Glorioso
Photo by Capehart Photography
Today, the name Pandora may be most closely associated with music. Once upon a time, the Greek myth told of Pandora’s Box. While she allows the hardships of humanity to escape the jar assembled by Zeus, Pandora manages to secure hope for the world.
And so it is with Mrs. Lois Pope, giving more than hope to those affected by the hardships that life and liberty can bring. A lifetime dedicated to others, Mrs. Pope embodies what compassion looks like. But beyond the countless contributions lies the driving force of a genuine desire to change people’s lives for the better.
Just as Mrs. Pope is one of Palm Beach County’s most celebrated philanthropists, Palm Beach State College is being celebrated for 90 years of excellence in education and its own mission to transform lives.
On November 11, Palm Beach State is privileged to recognize Mrs. Pope at the College’s first-ever gala, the Emerald Torch Awards, honoring the heroes of our community: first responders and military veterans.
With the event taking place on Veterans Day, it’s more than fitting to salute Mrs. Pope and her devotion to championing the lives and service of all veterans. As the foremost advocate for those who have served our nation, she has earned an apt moniker, “The Pope of Disabled Veterans.”
In 2014, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in our nation’s capital became the first public tribute to four million living disabled American veterans as well as those lost, thanks to Mrs. Pope bringing legislation, establishing an endowment and working early on with then-Senator Joe Biden. Two years later, a National Day of Honor for America’s disabled veterans was born on October 5, once again spearheaded by Mrs. Pope’s vision and collaboration with members of Congress.
Closer to home, Mrs. Pope has shown her regard for not only the men and women of the Armed Forces but also the courageous canines that have served in all five branches, donating the American Military Hero Dog Monument at the Tri County Animal Rescue in Boca Raton. Also, her Lois’ Food4Kids program serves over 5,000 food insecure children through the Palm Beach County Food Bank to ensure that no child goes hungry in any of our local neighborhoods.
Lois Pope’s philanthropic reach knows no bounds, extending to a myriad of vital initiatives and bringing an array of well-deserved awards, including the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis’ Outstanding Humanitarian Award; the Harriet Goldstein Award from Families First of Palm Beach County; and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s Lois Pope Center for Retinal and Macular Degeneration Research in Palm Beach Gardens, delivering breakthrough research and clinical treatment for eye diseases. In addition, a substantial gift to develop the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s Bionic Eye Program is launching the Lois’ Vision4Kids program in partnership with Bascom Palmer.
But there’s more. Mrs. Pope has established a clean water system in a Guatemalan village; aid for refugee women in Sudan; and a donation to Save the Children, helping families to escape violence in Ukraine. Through extraordinary action, an impelling voice and heartfelt mindedness, Mrs. Pope’s capacity to shift the collective consciousness and culture for the better is simply unparalleled. How fortunate are we to call Palm Beach County home with someone impacting lives to this extent, on an international stage and in our own backyard.
Regarding her recognition at Palm Beach State’s upcoming gala, Mrs. Pope has expressed her appreciation for the College’s role in the community. “Furthering education and giving people opportunities to learn and grow is in so many ways what Palm Beach State does for individuals from all walks of life. It is a true honor and thrill for me to have my work for veterans recognized this November by such an outstanding and vibrant institution of higher learning.”
For Palm Beach County, both Mrs. Pope and the College have risen as prominent Leaders in Furthering Education, the name given to her longstanding “Lois Pope LIFE Foundation.” Mrs. Pope and the remarkable work of her three foundations remind us that we are blessed by not what we have but what we give.
Like Pandora, Mrs. Lois Pope has given us hope. But this is no myth. Her gifts to the world, like her legacy and love, are infinite.