Q & A with Eliane Markoff - Founder, Art in Giving
Q)There are so many ways to fundraise for charity, what inspired you to use your art to help fund medical research?
A) At eight years old and in 1992, my daughter, Rachel Molly Markoff, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. While waiting to see the doctors at the Jimmy Fund Clinic, Rachel would draw and color.
I found painting to be therapeutic and was motivated by Rachel’s art to develop my skills as an artist. Art has special meaning for me since it provides a medium to keep Rachel’s memory alive and to benefit children who suffer from cancer.
I gave one of my first paintings to my husband who hung it in his office. To my surprise, people who saw my work actually wanted to buy it. That’s when I realized I could sell art to raise funds for pediatric cancer research and support for families with children battling cancer. Now all Art in Giving proceeds are used to fund pediatric cancer research and related support programs.
Q) Proceeds from Art in Giving go to The Rachel Molly Markoff Foundation, created in memory of your daughter. Tell us about Rachel.
A) My daughter Rachel Molly and her twin sister Audrey Sarah were born on Oct. 10, 1983. On Jan. 16, 1992, Rachel was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She died nine months later, one week after Rachel and Audrey’s ninth birthday.
Rachel was someone who drew admiring glances whenever she walked into a room. She was a very poised and attractive young girl that exhibited a quiet strength and maturity well beyond her years.
Perhaps one of Rachel’s doctors, Dr. Nancy Tarbell, captures Rachel’s essence best when she described my daughter by saying, “Rachel was more concerned about the well being of her parents and sister Audrey than herself. Such courage and maturity from a 9-year-old girl was remarkable and duly noted by all the people she touched during her 9-month illness.”
One time, after Rachel came back home from the hospital after a month’s stay, she brought all the gifts and toys including her sea shell collection to her bedroom. She told Audrey, ”You can have anything you want. I am just happy to be home.”
Q) What is the strength behind Art in Giving’s unique philanthropic model?
A) The strength behind Art in Giving’s unique philanthropic model is the infrastructure allowing us to access new sources of philanthropic dollars by encouraging organizations to fund art purchases through HR-sponsored reward and recognition programs, marketing, and facilities management, and not solely from company-sponsored philanthropy. In this way, Art in Giving converts traditional corporate expenditures into charitable donations, thereby increasing the amount of potential funding for pediatric cancer causes.
To date, The Rachel Molly Markoff Foundation funded 12 Chairs of Research in collaboration with The National Brain Tumor Society and its Scientific Advisory Board and other research institutions. It also provided support to numerous children and families affected by childhood cancer.
Q) What ways can an individual make an impact through Art in Giving?
A) Both individuals and organizations can make a significant impact. We welcome inquiries from architects, interior designers, facility management and curators who are responsible for purchasing art to adorn new offices or a new building. Individuals can also participate by purchasing art or Art in Giving certificates to thank clients, guest speakers; to reward executives and other employees and on a personal level to mark special occasions such as weddings, new home purchases, anniversaries, graduations, and birthdays. Those receiving the certificates can select their gifts from over 25 prominent artists, including artists in oils, acrylics, mosaic, encaustic, pottery, knits and jewelry as well as from Galerie d’Orsay on Newbury Street in Boston.
Please visit artingiving.com/gallery or contact us at 617-877-4230. We are located at 450 Harrison Ave in Boston, Studio 222 and welcome a visit.
We are also looking to engage clients in two new initiatives. A partnership with other nonprofits dedicated to either cancer or pediatrics will allow us to share the funds and revenues we jointly raise. A Corporate Membership Program will allow members to loan the art with an option to purchase.
Q) In what ways does the art available represent the challenges many families have while dealing with a sick child?
A) People have such personal reactions to art, that we make sure to offer a variety of styles and media. What I can confidently say is that all the artists that join Art in Giving are moved by our mission and want to make a difference.
Speaking for my artwork, the process and techniques I use are influenced by my experience with my daughter’s death. For example, when I start a painting I have a goal in mind, but many times the finished piece does not end up as I had intended— just as we don’t have ultimate control over life.