When Harold Matzner met Judy and Marshall Gelfand at a Palm Springs Art Museum event in the 1980s, he was instantly hooked. “There was no resisting their combined magic,” he said. That magic manifested itself in the form of influence, and by the end of the evening, Harold had become a supporter of the museum. Today, he is the executive vice chair and a major donor — a role that he is sure has Judy smiling.
According to Harold, Judy and Marshall not only developed the culture of giving at the museum, they were also the most effective fundraisers in its history. As one of the most prominent business and philanthropic leaders in the Palm Springs community, Harold serves on the boards of directors for and actively supports the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, the Eisenhower Medical Center, the McCallum Theatre, the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the not-for-profit Palm Springs Tennis Club Members Association. “Active philanthropy gives organizations the resources they need to fulfill their missions at a high level of quality and service. It also sets an example for others to follow — and they do follow,” Harold said.
Harold is a longtime donor to The Judy Fund, which holds a special place in his heart as a way to honor Judy and help fight the disease that took his dear friend. “Judy was one of the most likeable, authentic and caring people I’ve ever met,” he said. “She was such a capable leader, and I had great admiration for her compassion for people. It’s gratifying to be able to honor her legacy through The Judy Fund.” In addition to making significant contributions to The Judy Fund, Harold has raised awareness of Alzheimer’s disease through his work with the Palm Springs International Film Festival, an organization with which Judy was also actively involved. “As chairman of the Awards Gala and the [Palm Springs International] Film Festival, I was especially proud to be able to honor Julianne Moore with our Best Actress Award for her role in the brilliant and moving film, ‘Still Alice,’ for which she also won the Oscar.”
In 2006, Harold was honored with a star on the famed Palm Springs Walk of Stars for his distinguished service as a humanitarian who has contributed to the charm, worldwide prominence and name recognition of the city. In 2012, Harold joined with Helene Galen and Bill Osterman to honor Judy and Marshall in the same way: by sponsoring a star in their name. The star serves as a lasting tribute to one of Palm Springs’ great power couples. “Harold Matzner is a great leader and a dear friend,” said Marshall Gelfand, founder of The Judy Fund. “He has inspired many to do important things for our community and his generosity is without equal.
Judy loved Harold, and I continue to appreciate all that he has done and continues to do for The Judy Fund. Harold is one of a kind.” Judy’s smile and fun-loving spirit were contagious, reaching every area of Harold’s life. One of Harold’s favorite stories of her is from a Thanksgiving dinner that included “at least 40 people and two turkeys … and I don’t mean Marshall and me!” Judy persuaded Harold and Marshall to dress as pilgrims, complete with tall black hats, and deliver dramatic readings from "Pilgrim’s Progress." “Marshall made a very serious pilgrim and Judy laughed throughout the entire dinner. She knew how to have fun and how to help others do the same,” Harold said. Judy left a lasting impact on many, including Harold and the entire Palm Springs community. If Harold could send her a message today, it would be: “Judy, you are missed by all of us who love you!”
Thank You Judy Fund Donors!
Thank you for your generous support in the fight against this devastating disease. Because of family members and friends like you, you help us strengthen our efforts to advance Alzheimer’s research, care and support.