As many in New York City and across our country mourn the loss of the first and only Black mayor of New York City, the Honorable Mayor Dinkins, we reflect on his friendship, support, and commitment to children’s health. Mayor Dinkins joined the Children’s Health Fund Board in 1995 and at his passing yesterday, he remained an active member. His life-long concern for children and families living in poverty made him a formidable ally of Children’s Health Fund. We are especially deeply grateful for his support of our flagship New York Program, the Bronx Health Collective, and our Healthy and Ready to Learn Initiative which serve children in the under-invested communities of Harlem and the South Bronx.
His tenure as mayor was marked by the need to bridge a deep racial divide in New York City. As our country awakens to racial injustice, we honor Mayor Dinkins’ contributions to building racial healing.
We mourn the loss of a great man and great leader and are proud to be a part of his ‘gorgeous mosaic’ of communities in New York City.
Reflections from Children’s Health Fund Leadership
“In 1986, when Paul Simon and I first visited David Dinkins, then Manhattan Borough President, he was the only New York politician who instantly understood the urgent medical needs of children and families in the homeless shelter system. David never wavered from supporting what we wanted to do. He loved kids, he loved CHF and he loved us until the day he died. We’ll never forget him and his extraordinary contributions to the well-being of children. This was a professional commitment – and a deeply personal one – for him. Irreplaceable, towering figure.” — Irwin Redlener, M.D., President Emeritus/ Co-Founder
“I met David Dinkins when he hosted the Children’s Health Fund’s very first day of healthcare for children experiencing homelessness at the Martinique Hotel in 1987. He was caring, kind, and inspiring – then and until the end. He will be remembered for many accomplishments, but his unwavering dedication to children – as a politician, an activist, a colleague, and friend – is what made him beloved and unique as a human being.” — Karen Redlener, Co-Founder
“David Dinkins was a mayor for all New Yorkers, of course, but his particular fondness for children was one of his greatest attributes. He was a true friend and his whole-hearted support for Children’s Health Fund, even before we had our first pediatric mobile clinic, was incredibly important to get essential healthcare to children most in need.” — Paul Simon, Co-Founder
“When I learned of the passing of our dear friend David Dinkins, I was struck by both profound sadness for our loss and a sense of deep gratitude for his service.
Mayor Dinkins’ unwavering commitment to children as a board member of Children’s Health Fund for 25 years coupled with his endless enthusiasm will never be forgotten. He was uniquely gifted, both as a leader and as an ambassador for children. His devotion to our cause and his ease with children will remain with everyone he touched. We learned from him, and as our teacher his deep humility made us feel as if he was learning from us. What a gift he was to us all.
My deepest condolences to Mayor Dinkins’ family, in particular his children who just lost their beloved mother a month ago. May he rest in peace, now reunited with his wife, Joyce.” — Hervé Sedky, Board Chair