In Remembrance: Joan K. Davidson

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Dear Friends,

In memory of our President Emeritus, Joan Davidson, we invite you to share remembrances below.

In Remembrance: Joan K. Davidson

Joan Kaplan Davidson
May 26, 1927 – August 11, 2023


Patriot and native of New York City and State, Joan K. Davidson long worked for, supported, guided and in some cases helped found non-profit and government programs for the betterment of the natural and built environments of both urban and rural places; for the arts; and for civil liberties and social justice.

Her government service began in Washington DC, in the 1950s, as a staffer on the Senate Armed Services Preparedness Committee under Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson; continued on various public commissions in Portland, Oregon where she moved to as a young bride, then in Wrangell, Alaska, and years later in Albany at the New York State Council on the Arts (as Chair), the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (as Commissioner), and Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission (as Chair). Earlier she had run for the New York State Senate as the Democratic candidate from the Upper East Side.

From 1977 to 1993, Joan Davidson was president of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.  The Davidson presidency saw the early advocacy – and mostly sustained support for Westbeth, Greenmarkets, South Street Seaport, Urban Center Books at the Municipal Art Society, programs of Natural Resource Defense Council, Human Rights Watch; The Nature Conservancy, parks and land conservancies, Sacred Sites and Properties Fund of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Preservation League of New York State, renovation of the Mayor’s House Gracie Mansion; Clothing Bank/New Clothes for the Homeless, the New York Cares Annual Coat Drive; Rural New York.  The Fund provided a range of assistance to rural, small town undertakings, and to branch libraries, an inner-city greening program, one campaign to save the City’s pristine water supply and another to bring public toilets to the streets of New York. As president emeritus, she continued to advocate for the architecture, design, and quality of life of New York City.

In 1995, Joan Davidson founded Furthermore grants in publishing as a publication program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund. Furthermore supports publication of nonfiction books that concern the arts, history, and the natural and built environment. Since its inception, the program has assisted more than 1,400 books with grants that total over $8 million.

In addition to her leadership of Furthermore, in 2013 Joan founded the Alice Award, an annual prize for illustrated books, and in 2022 she instituted the Carriage House events program at Midwood, her property in the Hudson River Valley

Joan Davidson was educated at Cornell University and the Bank Street School. She lived in Manhattan and the Hudson Valley with many of her twelve grandchildren and five great-grandchildren in residence nearby.


Obituaries & News
The New York Times
The New York Landmarks Conservancy
The New York Daily News
WAMC Northeast Public Radio
WAMC Midday Magazine by Jesse King
WAMC Midday Magazine by Ralph Gardner Jr.

Art Daily
The New York State Council on the Arts
American Federation of Arts
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
The Upstater
The Olana Partnership
Preservation League of New York State
The New York Landmarks Conservancy
Natural Resources Defense Council
NRDC – An Appreciation
Arch Paper
Architectural Record
World Monuments Fund


  1. Tom Shannon on said:

    My condolences to her family.

  2. Suzette Brooks Masters on said:

    Dear JMKF and Davidson Families,

    Please accept my deepest condolences. Joan was larger than life and a great lady. I had the pleasure of intersecting with her in many ways over decades: as a cofounder of NY Cares, I received one of the earliest grants to support this new organization in the late 1980s; as a JMKF consultant for 9 years, I enjoyed building on the Fund’s great reputation for innovation and entrepreneurial grantmaking; and as a Columbia county resident, I shared in many of Joan’s passions and love of place, including Midwood.

    Sending all good wishes and wonderful memories,

  3. Mary Ellen Ross on said:

    I am missing and will continue to miss Joan. She has been an inspiration to me and so many others. She was generous, kind and a visionary who was indeed unique.

  4. Tambra Dillon on said:

    Hudson Hall celebrates the incredible life and legacy of Joan K. Davidson. A friend of the Hudson Opera House’s revival from its earliest days, Joan’s unwavering encouragement and generosity played a pivotal role in restoring, reopening, and sustaining New York State’s oldest surviving theater. Her imprint on the vibrant cultural landscape in Hudson and beyond is indelible. We extend our sincere condolences to the Davidson family and to all those who knew and loved Joan. Excelsior!

  5. Friends of the Upper East Side on said:

    Joan Kaplan Davidson, preservationist, philanthropist, and ardent supporter of FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts since its inception, passed away last Friday, August 11th at the age of 96. Ms. Davidson’s unparalleled legacy in historic preservation is best illustrated through the projects supported by the J.M. Kaplan Fund, a foundation established by her father in 1945 that she helmed from 1977 to 1993. Some of Ms. Davidson’s most impactful contributions to the City of New York include the creation of Westbeth Artists Housing, her fight to preserve Broadway theaters in the 1970s and early 1980s, and her support of the rescue and restoration of the Eldridge Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side.

    FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts owes an immense debt of gratitude to Joan K. Davidson and the J.M. Kaplan Fund. FRIENDS began as a group of volunteers interested in supporting preservation soon after the designation of the Upper East Side Historic District in 1981. In 1982, The Municipal Art Society, with the support of the J.M. Kaplan fund, headed by Ms. Davidson, assembled FRIENDS’ first Board of Directors. Halina Rosenthal became our first president, and our first employee was John Weiss, now LPC’s Deputy Counsel. Without Ms. Davidson’s generosity, FRIENDS as we know it today may not exist.

    In 2021, FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, along with the Historic Districts Council, LANDMARK WEST!, the Municipal Art Society of New York, and Village Preservation, hosted a book talk featuring It’s a Helluva Town: Joan K. Davidson, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and the Fight for a Better New York, with author Roberta Brandes Gratz and Kaplan Foundation alum Anthony C. Wood, about the immeasurable impact Ms. Davidson had on the historic built environment of New York City

  6. Robert Beard on said:

    The amazing Joan quietly funded my first museum job many many years ago. She remained a friend and supporter.

    We gave a party at home in hudson valley for a book she funded many years ago and I’ll never forget her giggles when she spotted the bar of only Welsh’s products we set up just for her benefit.

    Gods speed dear Joan.

  7. Seven Charlestin on said:

    We are so sorry for your loss!

  8. Lynn Davis on said:

    We send our condolences to Joan’s entire family. We had the pleasure of attending many events at Midwood over these last 20-25 years. Always the gracious hostess but with a purpose in mind. A life of service is always to be commended. She lived a purposeful life with the comfort of her guests in mind. Her shad parties were always a time to see old friends and meet others. She will be greatly missed in our beautiful valley. A few, like Joar, are irreplaceable.

    With peace and love,
    Lynn Davis and Rudy Wurlitzer

  9. Carianne and Adonis Asberry on said:

    I thank her for the opportunity she poured into various outlets to support the mission of the organisation and for the many lives she touched her impact will continue to inspire and serve to her legacy of leadership.

  10. Gale Muhammad on said:

    WWNGU sending the family our condolences and prayers may you rest with the angels

  11. Ajayi Taiwo Gabriel on said:

    May God grant the family and entire lover fortitude to bear the loss Good nite

  12. Digital Harbor Foundation Team on said:

    Please accept our thoughts and prayers with this family. We are incredibly sorry for your loss but know there are beautiful memories to always remember.

  13. ElsaMarie DSilva on said:

    Thank you for your leadership and support.

  14. Carlos Aponte on said:

    Thank you for believing in us

  15. Chihene Nde Nation of New Mexico on said:

    She will be missed.

  16. Sam Polanco on said:

    Hello dear JMK family,

    We’re truly sorry to hear of Mrs. Davidson pass away. Receive our sincere condolences: shall you get the strength you need by keeping your eyes on your motivation to make the world a better place for everyone.


    The Queer Detainee Empowerment Project – QDEP

  17. Tara Kelly on said:

    Joan was a preservation giant. Without her, it is hard to imagine the shape of the city–from South Street Seaport to the Upper East Side. In addition, her generosity and vision through Furthermore helped me realize a personal project off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire. Though we’ll miss her, her legacy is boundless.

  18. Kim Theus on said:

    I’m deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Joan Davidson. Her life’s work stands as a remarkable example of dedication to preservation and the betterment of communities’ quality of life. May her legacy continue to inspire and guide future generations. My heartfelt condolences go out to the Davidson family during this difficult time.

  19. Frances Hill on said:

    Urban Stages especially thanks Joan Davidson for her genius in being the advocate for arts, architecture, city planning, and much more. She would have an idea and fulfill it. We are especially grateful for the JM Kaplan Fund in helping us get our outreach program in the libraries in motion. We know she will be remembered fondly by many.

  20. Sam Teicher on said:

    I only had the pleasure of meeting Joan once, but what an impression she made. She warmly hosted me and my friends & fellow winners of the 2017 JMK Innovation Prize at her home, and left an indelible mark through her warmth, wit, charisma, and kindness. I’m eternally grateful for the support she provided to my organization Coral Vita, and for her countless contributions I’ll likely never know about to make our world a better place. May her memory be a blessing.

  21. David Gibson on said:

    We at Adirondack Wild say: Joan was one of our great, guiding lights and spirits, and her friendship, support, constructive criticism and wise counsel will always shed light on the trail before us. Joan was a true mother tree, for us and for others. Her shade was cast over the forest, but where the roots grow she shared generously with all the smaller trees surrounding her, creating not a wood but a connected forest. From Carnegie Hall, NYC, up the Hudson River, to museums, art centers and parks of all sizes, to the great Catskill and Adirondack Parks, those smaller trees are all growing under her shade, fed by her roots for years to come. Our deepest condolences to her family and to her many friends, our roots are entwined with yours.

  22. stanley goldstein on said:

    She did so much good, which has lasted so long.

  23. Emmanuel Olorunwemimo on said:


  24. Adrian Benepe on said:

    I had the honor and and joy of knowing Joan for almost 50 years, since she and the JMKF were early endorsers and funders of Greenmarket, as my father Barry and his associate Bob Lewis were getting it started in 1976-77. Since then I watched in admiration and Joan and her large family and the JMKF did so much for the public realm of NYC and the Hudson Valley, and for so many good progressive causes. To paraphrase the epitaph for architect Sir Christopher Wren; “If you seek her monument, look around you.”

  25. Ann Loeding on said:

    Whenever we spoke, Joan always inspired me to stand a little taller and choose my words with a little more care. I always appreciated how she found a way to really pay attention to whatever conversation we were having, even in the midst the usual throng of people trying to get her attention. She brought intelligence and grace to every encounter we shared. I am truly thankful that I had the chance to be a small part of the vast and diverse community of people who cherish the Hudson River and who all counted on Joan to keep us talking about the things that matter to us.

  26. Sadro Ngorokoro on said:

    It’s so disheartening to hear of the bad news of the president’s death. Her legacy remains.

  27. David Haight on said:

    Joan was an early advocate for farmers and rural land conservation in the Hudson Valley. She understood that the interests of farmers and rural communities were closely tied with cities, particularly New York City, and vice versa. She helped bring American Farmland Trust and our mission to ‘save the land that sustains us’ to New York. Today, the region is home to a diversity of individuals and organizations working to further this cause. Joan has left an enduring legacy in the region.

  28. Dee Jones on said:

    I was one of the reviewers for the Fund this year I just want to send all the love and positive enegry I can. Thank you for an opportunity like this.

  29. John T. Reddick on said:

    She was one of the most stylish, gracious and caring citizens of New York I’ve known, setting the barre high for all of us in goals, expectations, and supportive giving.
    A true lost to the leadership of our city.
    In warmest regards,
    John Reddick

  30. Susan Mead on said:

    Joan Davidson and the Kaplan Fund were leaders in the fight to save Grand Central Station . I worked as the D.C. representative of the now defunk Preservation Law Center , worked on the Amicus Brief filled by área not for profits, led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation,and even had the first cite in the victorious U.S. Supreme Court decision .

    None of that would have been possible for me as a young lawyer or more importantly, for our country without leaders like Joan Davidson .
    I met her again years later at the Century Club and my impression of her was the same . A bright , courageous woman who blazed the way with her ideas and her passionate strength .
    It was an honor to have met her .

  31. R. O. Blechman on said:

    On one occasion Joan questioned a remark I had made with one word. “Why?” That was Joan. always to the point, always on the mark.

    R. O. Blechman

  32. Nicholas Fox Weber on said:

    We know Joan’s extraordinary accomplishments and contribution to society, but I just want to add how much fun she was to be with. It greatly amused her that when I was a Columbia College freshman in 1966, I met with her mother, who was on a committee devoted to the Art History department. Both of these ladies had such elegance and charm and personal grace as well as their penetrating intelligence.

  33. Alicia Peoples on behalf of Forest Forward on said:

    Our condolences to everyone touched by this loss.

  34. Linda Yowell on said:

    Such a gracious lady, who did so much, so quietly, for this City.

    Joan was a beacon to those of us who believe that the design and heritage of our surroundings impacts our shared sense of community and the quality of our lives, and for this we are grateful.

    Her encouraging smile and supportive presence will be missed.

  35. Joseph Lovett on said:

    I was so sorry to hear about Joan. She was an extraordinary person who did great good in our world. Years ago, she really took a chance and gave me a “leg up” with a seed grant for a film on the Veterans of The Abraham Lincoln Brigade at the beginning of my career. Her belief in me and my project made such a difference in my life. I’ll never forget her. My condolences your family.

  36. Jesse Joseph Jordan, Jr., MD on said:

    To an Advocate for ALL People and for the Environment she respected.

    May she rest with the knowledge we respect and love her humanitarian


  37. Margo Viscusi on said:

    Joan Davidson was a great mentor and a warm and extremely generous personal friend to my husband Anthony and me. She made Midwood, her home upstate in Germantown, NY, the site of countless gatherings, whether huge outdoor celebrations of the arrival of shad in the Hudson River (guests would come up from the city just for the afternoon) or cultivation parties for worthy non-profits and political candidates she supported or, in the last last years of her life when most people withdraw into quiet and family, the intimate Carriage House gatherings featuring speakers from a large range of disciplines. Her dinner parties were delightful, with Joan encouraging round-the-table discussions of topics she thought needed attention. She had a sharp but not unkind sense of humor and a way of making each of us feel a confidant. What a model to people just a bit younger like us of how to live the productive, rich, generous and good life until the end.

  38. Lee Collver-Richards on said:

    In gratitude for your life well lived and contribution to a better world, thank you. My deepest condolences to your family and The Kaplan Fund, your Light already missed by many.

  39. Adele Silver on said:

    Remembering Joan will be a comfort now that she’s gone and a joy because it’s impossible to think of her without a feeling of delight—she was the most amazing woman of our generation. I’ve just mailed a note of remembrance and condolence to Betsy, meant for all of you. We will all miss her forever.

  40. Lynn Pinder on said:

    My condolences to your foundation team and Ms. Davidson’s family.

  41. Zenzele Chulu on said:

    I pray that the family continues her legacy to reach out for people to be helped especially from Africa. Great loss to the people we shall always cherish this human spirit.

  42. Alison Fujino on said:

    A wonderful philanthropist, a life well lived. A model to us all.

  43. Tini Pomeranz on said:

    Joan was the ultimate host and benefactor, supporting the most important causes. She will be greatly missed. My deep condolences to her family.

  44. Andrew Appel on said:

    I cannot imagine the world without Joan in it…nourishing our thinking, our projects, and offering us a vivacious and active optimism. She was a star and knowing her, spending time together at her desk or her dinner table was a gift. With all the gratitude there is now heartache. But her light will always shine for us. She was the best.

  45. Tim prentice on said:

    A toast to Joan.
    Cheers, Tim Prentice

  46. Tomiko Shine; Cultural Anthropologist, Exec Dir; Aging People in Prison Human Rights Campaign on said:

    This is my first time hearing about Joan Kaplan Davidson; what a life well lived. We need more of her, her spirit, in today’s current societal context/campaign of erasure of culture, his/herstory, and us.

    To work to preserve culture through public parks, architecture, and literary is a high calling that reminds us of where we came from and where we should be going. It’s a work of memory, memories that become the weapon of resistance to alienation and fragmentation of society.

    Ms. Joan K. Davidson’s body of memory work was/is a gift not only to New Yorkers but to us all. May your lived memories throughout New York become our children’s memories.

    We salute you and remember you always!

  47. Shinnecock Kelp Farmers on said:

    May you journey on in peace

  48. Ellen Fair on said:

    Oh, my. New York has truly lost its greatest champion. I met Joan through my late mother, the two having maintained a lifelong friendship after working together in the advertising department at Macy’s. She was endlessly generous, kind, and interested in….everything! She was an enormous and positive influence in my family’s life and mine, and while she was certainly no wallflower, I think relatively few New Yorkers will ever know how much they owe to her and her tireless work on behalf of the city and the Empire State. Joan, you were such a force that I can’t imagine you actually resting, peacefully or otherwise, but thank you, thank you for everything, and may you prevail in whatever comes after at what I choose to imagine is Camp Midwood in the sky.

  49. Sydney Marcus Dias on said:

    Contribution to books is an effective mission in the society.I pay homege Joan Kaplan Davidsan as he has given a unique contribution for the society.

  50. Sally Baker, Exec. Dir, Philmont Beauitification, Inc on said:

    As a young person in my early thirties, working in the back room of administration of the Susan Caldwell Gallery in Soho, and in my spare time racing around as an independent curator of exhibitions of how contemporary artists were addressing major societal issues, Joan Davidson was always a woman of leadership offering alternative thinking promoting social change that I paid deep attention to. I luckily had the opportunity of a few moments in her company, and always paid deep attention to what she was saying. Joan Davidson’s insights and actions provided so many people and many of my friends and colleagues with inspiration and guidance in our young and energetic pursuits that eventually lead to current works. Thank you for providing us that integral inspiration.

  51. Candace Falk on said:

    What a competent and generous woman. . a gift to us all.

  52. Frank Matero on said:

    I met Joan Davidson sometime around 1978 while a student at Columbia. She was a force then and one I would come to know better as a Kaplan grant recipient years later. Her steadfast belief in the power a small grant could make to support even an undeveloped nascent idea was a godsend to any young recipient. I especially loved her public persona: positive, energetic, and infectious enough to make one want to carry the banner. A great champion of NYC and preservation has left us.

  53. Eric D. Becker on said:

    On behalf of the A Diamond in the Dirt Foundation and BioFam Services, we extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Joan Kaplan Davidson.

  54. Rex Nickneri on said:

    May your soul have a seat in heaven,for you have touch so many hearts despite their races,colour and creed.
    And may you continued your angelic deeds for those who are still alive as their saint.

    Eternity is yours!

    Rest in Peace.

  55. Moses Nadiope on said:

    I am saddened to learn about the loss of a noble person who worked relentlessly to transform the lives the less privileged. It hard to enumerate her contribution she exerted to cause transformation on peoples’ lives. Not forgetting Joan Davidson’s early advocacy role at J. M. Kaplan Fund.
    May God Bless soul and let her rest in eternal peace.

  56. Malama Joseph on said:

    Its indeed a great loss to the maginalise empowerment advocacy farmily.Science Africa Foundation,Zambia joins JMK fund management and the farmily in celebrating the life of our departed mother who loved to see her grandchildren even from far miles live equitable prolonged life.We would have loved to continue being together for her to witness a smile from innovative girls in science, but God decided his will add up the stegnth to endure taugh life in her absence.

  57. Martins Gospel on said:

    Ma Joan Kaplan Davidson was an icon. Though she is no more but her footprints will always be a symbol of her presence among us and in our lives.

    To her immediate family, close friends, staffs and colleagues; I pray you find solace in her good life and accomplishment.

    Farewell Ma Joan Kaplan Davidson.

  58. Ahmed Albarout on said:

    May her soul rest in peace and mercy.

  59. Debra Jeannette on said:

    Sending our condolences to the family and the Foundation for their loss of such a remarkable woman. We may have not known her personally but certainly we have been the recipients of her generosity and dedication to make the world a better place. Our veteran community has been impacted through her efforts.
    The works she’s supported has made a difference in their lives.
    We are truly sorry for your loss.

  60. Abdullahi abdullahi on said:

    We’re really appreciated for his dedication to his community and entire whole world for his wonderful contribution to the oppressed.
    Thanks you so much.

  61. KAYANGA PETER on said:

    DISABILITY PEOPLES FORUM UGANDA,It is with our deepest sorrow that we have had the death of our beloved Joan kaplan Davision .Rest in peace,but you have left us in these discriminating world ,you who are alive do not discriminate us we are part. joan rest in peace

  62. Anne Hemenway on said:

    Dear Betsy, Brad, Matt and all of Joan’s very large extended family,
    We send condolences, comfort and love to all. We shall always remember Joan with warmth and great appreciation as a shining light and great New Yorker. I met Joan at age 7 through her long and lasting friendship with my Father, Russell Hemenway. It was because of Joan that I had one magical, formative summer at Camp Treetops in 1968. She advised and supported me and my friends on several occasions through the years on projects, jobs and ideas. Joan created beauty and elegance at every turn. Her aesthetic was inspiring and contagious. I can hear the sound of her voice. It’s said that the feeling of being taken seriously by one caring adult can mean the world to a young person. I felt at a young age, and ever after, that Joan took me and my ideas seriously. And, we shall always be grateful for the community Joan built and held for, and with, all of us. Thank you, Joan. May we all continue together in your steady footsteps. Rest In Peace, JKD. And, may all who have gone before you greet you now and guide you, and all of us, through these difficult times.

  63. Jocee M. Tuazama on said:

    May her souls of all the faithful departed rest in Peace with the lord.

  64. Linda Mussmann on said:

    Joan K. Davidson a most gracious and generous woman. Time & Space Limited Theater Company–here in Hudson, NY has been one space that Joan celebrated by her presence and her generosity. Linda Mussmann & Claudia Bruce send our condolences to all of her friends and family. Joan was one of the rare people who have graced the planet with passion for the arts-politics-humanity—and the environment of this planet… in peace as we celebrate all of Joan’s great and good works here on earth.

  65. Henry Tepper on said:

    It was a privilege to call Joan a friend and mentor. As all of you know, she was a person of immense vision, fierce commitment, intellect, creativity, laser focus, discipline, and great good humor. She played a critical role in launching and shaping my career in land conservation, for which I am profoundly grateful. She helped hire me as the first full-time executive director of the Columbia Land Conservancy, took me with her as a deputy commissioner when she became the NYS Parks Commissioner, and advised and supported me for decades. Her deep love for and commitment to New York State, both urban and rural, built and natural, led to her play a critical role in both celebrating and taking decisive and highly strategic action to safeguard and improve the state and the city. She has left a truly extraordinary legacy to her community, state, country, and the world. I feel so fortunate to have known her. My heartfelt condolences to her family.

  66. Trudy Smoke Robbins on said:

    I mourn the loss of this great woman and know her good works will be remembered and are her legacy. I am honored to have been a reader for the J M Kaplan foundation for many years. Please know how much she will be missed. She was a bright light in a troubled world.
    Trudy Smoke Robbins

  67. David Kahn on said:

    In 2013, Joan received the Adirondack Experience’s Harold K. Hochschild Award, named for the museum’s founder. Though perhaps best known for her philanthropy in the NYC area, Joan and her family were long involved in the Adirondacks. Jacob M. Kaplan helped get Camp Treetops started in the 1930s. Joan and other members of her family remained involved with the camp, North Country School, and the Adirondacks from that time forward. Joan helped lead a capital campaign to enable the group Protect the Adirondacks to renovate the Paul Schaefer home and library, now run by Union College. Through Furthermore, Joan supported the Adirondack Explorer magazine and recent books the Adirondack Experiences was involved with including, A Wild Idea, about the founding of the APA, and The Adirondack Guideboat: Its Origin, Builders, and Their Boats. I first became acquainted with Joan in the early 1980s. She gave me the first grant I ever received as a museum professional. I was running the Brooklyn Historical Society and the grant was in support of an exhibition about the history of commuting in Brooklyn. I will never forget that in the mid-1980s, an unsolicited check for $50K arrived in the mail from the J.M. Kaplan Fund. Joan believed in the Brooklyn Historical Society’s work. Over the years, I attended many an event at Joan’s homes in New York City and Germantown. Joan seemed to know everybody involved in the arts. People I met at her parties over the years ranged from Phyllis Lambert, founder of the Canadian Center for Architecture to Paul Provost, Executive Director of the Art Bridges Foundation. As everyone knows, Joan hosted an ongoing series of Carriage House lectures in Germantown. In March, I was invited to speak about the Adirondack Experience. On Tuesday, August 8 at 10:00AM, my museum sent out an email blast update about upcoming events. Precisely ten minutes later, Joan emailed me, “Hello: Another terrific bulletin from y’all…good work! All best, Joan.” Those notes of encouragement will be greatly missed. Not too long ago, while visiting Joan in Germantown she asked me how old I was? I told her 70. “Oh, to be 70 again,” she mused.

    David Kahn, Executive Director, Adirondack Experience

  68. Kevin Burke on said:

    A light has gone out overlooking the Hudson River. Joan did so much good and will be terribly missed as a convener without parallel. She built momentum for many worthy causes and was a force for decades. I am deeply grateful for the gift of her friendship and support over the years, and I will miss her. May she always be an example of service for us and for future generations.

  69. Regina Gil on said:

    Joan was introduced to me by her late brother, Richard Kaplan, and I realized that this woman was a brilliant, witty, formidable person and, along with her brother (who was married to my dear friend, Edwina Sandys), would always be a centerpiece at any gathering, social or otherwise. The Kaplan family’s philanthropy was impressive in its goals for bettering the condition of the world through targeted giving that began with serious examinations of candidates. It was my privilege to know her and I offer my sincere condolences. At 96, she died too young.

  70. Gretchen Buchenholz on said:

    All of us at Association to Benefit Children (ABC) are profoundly saddened by the loss of Joan K. Davidson, a New York treasure who set the standard for compassionate and innovative philanthropy. I was fortunate to have first met Joan in the early-80’s when ABC was awarded a J.M. Kaplan Fund grant to help us purchase a building where we would be able to further expand our work serving the most vulnerable children of homeless families living in squalid unsafe hotels like The Martinique and bring them to a nurturing early childhood program where they played and learned and enriched the lives of their fellow classmates from its Upper Eastside neighborhood. Joan continued to support ABC’s work through her personal giving and the Fund’s discretionary grants. I have lost a devoted friend and New York has lost one of its greatest champions, the extraordinary woman who helped preserve so many of this city’s most beloved treasures.

  71. Anthony W. Robins on said:

    While on the Landmarks Commission staff in the 1980s and ’90s, I learned that the preservation world counted on two philanthropies above all others for financial support: the Astor Foundation, and the Kaplan Fund — and that “the Kaplan Fund” really meant “Joan Kaplan Davidson.” Moreover, the Kaplan Fund was not just a reliable source of grants – it was a major partner in the entire preservation enterprise.

    I met Ms. Davidson just once, long after having left the Commission. It was in the basement of an Upper West Side church during a preservation event. I introduced myself to her, and said I hoped I wasn’t intruding, but just wanted to say “thank you” for all those years of her support of the Commission’s work. Her response was a surprised but genuinely pleased smile. I feared she’d think that I’d follow up with a grant request, so I quickly moved on. But her reaction was something of a revelation of who she was, of her humanity. May she rest in peace, and may her family, friends and admirers find comfort.

  72. Cait Kennedy on said:

    Thank you for your decades-long commitment to justice. Your inspiring legacy lives on!

  73. Rob Arnold on said:

    The board and staff of Poets House salute the life of Joan Davidson, creative change-maker in the spheres of philanthropy, conservation, public service, publishing, and the arts. We send heartfelt condolences to her family and wide circle of friends.

  74. Juan Sapriza on said:

    RIP -.

  75. Ronald Mason on said:

    I would like to thank Joan for all the countless work she’s done for our organization New Foundation of Hope.

  76. Sharon Flescher on said:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Joan several times, although I didn’t know her well. We shared a love of NYC and I greatly admired several of the Kaplan Fund’s projects, such as the lovely and much-needed bathroom facilities in Bryant Park.

    The nonprofit organization (the International Foundation for Art Research –IFAR)that I head was not a Kaplan Fund grantee under Joan’s tenure. But we did receive funding when Joan’s mother, Alice Kaplan, a serious art collector, was on our board for several years in the 1970s-80s, and Joan and I did speak about that. What a gracious, intelligent and visionary lady she was — the kind that NYC still needs, a lot!

  77. Jean Phifer on said:

    Joan’s leadership and generosity in so many aspects of civic and cultural life were enlivened by her tremendous personal warmth, smarts and dry wit. She was kind and supportive to innumerable aspiring writers, artists, preservationists and visionaries in New York City, the Hudson Valley and New York State. The excellent obituaries I have read could only begin to capture the essence of her luminous presence which will really be missed. Love to the whole family. Jean

  78. Chiara Robinson, Denver Art Museum on said:

    We are saddened to hear the news of Joan Davidson’s passing. The Denver Art Museum has been the grateful recipient of funding from the Furthermore Fund to produce award-winning exhibition catalogues. Ms. Davidson’s generosity through the Fund made it possible. She has made a lasting impact on so many communities through her philanthropy and service. We send our sincere condolences to her family and friends during this difficult time.

  79. Timothy Mennel on said:

    The University of Chicago Press and its authors have benefited greatly from the generosity of the Furthermore program, which embodied Joan’s passions and spirit. Her passing is a great loss, but the books she enabled and enriched will be a lasting part of her broad and unique legacy.

  80. Ned Sullivan / Scenic Hudson on said:

    Joan Davidson was a champion of the Hudson River and Valley. Her commitment of time and energy, combined with her outstanding financial support, played a vital role in protecting and connecting people to so many places, both natural and historic, that make this region so special.

    Joan always asked tough but thoughtful questions that quickly got to the heart of an issue and often led to charting a different, wiser course. She was indefatigable, and inspired others to follow her lead. Most important, whatever the project, she insisted on getting it done, and done right.

    All of us at Scenic Hudson honored with an opportunity to spend time and learn from Joan will miss her vision and unquenchable passion for the river she lived alongside and the farm fields, mountains, and communities it flows past. The legacy of our friend and partner will live on through the many people who will always have an opportunity to share Joan’s enjoyment of these treasures thanks in large part to her generosity.

    Ned Sullivan / Scenic Hudson

  81. trude fitelson on said:

    As an ardent preservationist in northern new york state, Joan K. Davidson was an icon of the historic preservation movement.

    Trude Brown Fitelson
    Thousand Island Park Landmark Society

  82. Nimet Habachy on said:

    Joan was a force and exciting to be around. I always enjoyed her take on life in general and her endless fascination with all things NewYork. And what a hostess she was. I was the grateful recipient of her largesse during many Hudson valley visits. Thank you Joan.

  83. William Cerbone on said:

    I write in condolence from Fordham University Press, a recipient of Joan Davidson’s generosity through Furthermore. As we carry on the work of exploring, documenting, and celebrating our beloved region–its arts, its history, and its environments both natural and built–we reflect on our lasting gratitude not only for this material support, but also for the distinctive generosity of establishing these programs with such a deliberate orientation that they aim to preserve something as delicate as a style of reading. The insight and appreciation with which this benefactress approached even arcane research could not help but impart the sense that we were collaborators in a grand project, one that we are honored to continue.

  84. Chris Kocher on said:

    I was honored to meet Joan for the first time earlier this year, when she graciously opened her home to our group, COVID Survivors for Change, after a long day advocating in Albany for more support for children orphaned by COVID. She was gracious and kind, and was clearly a force of nature and good in the world. It was especially meaningful to me having started my career with a first job as a grant writer at City Parks Foundation, where my colleagues spoke with such respect of Ms. Davidson and the work that she did through the Fund. As a life-long New Yorker who has now spent more than half my life living in New York City and am raising my children in NYC, I have an even deeper appreciation for the vision and unique leadership that Ms. Davidson showed throughout her life and the indelible mark that she left on the city. Thank you for all you have done and sending condolences to the entire family at the loss of their matriarch.

  85. Ellen Geiger on said:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Joan and I never met, but my father, Richard Geiger, worked for her father for many years and spoke often of what a great young woman she was. A native New Yorker himself, Dad was extremely proud to be a part of the greater Kaplan family, and never ceased to remind us of the Fund’s great achievements. Whenever I attended an event at The New School I would point out the dedication plaque to the J.M.Kaplan Fund in the lobby and feel that sense of pride myself.
    She was one of New York’s great philanthropists and we will miss her energy, dedication and love for the City and the progressive causes we hold dear. May her memory be a blessing.
    With gratitude,
    Ellen Geiger

  86. Sri Angad Chandra Mohanta on said:

    Remarkable role of this foundation is most appreciated for the Globe.

  87. Glory Aharanwa on said:

    Philanthropist Joan,

    May your gentle soul rest in peace. You will always be remembered for your generosity.

  88. Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian on said:

    Dear Kaplan Family and Friends,

    We are fortunate to have met Ms. Davidson at her beautiful home overlooking the Hudson River in 2016 during a JMK Innovation prize convening. Her Furthermore publishing grant helped to make our book that year possible. What an incredible life of generosity and meaning.

  89. stephanie monseu Bindlestiff Family Cirkus on said:

    Grateful remembrance of Ms. Davidson and her generous spirit in support of the Environment, the River, Social Justice, Culture, Literature, and Community. ️️️

  90. Jordan Bruxvoort on said:

    I am so inspired by Joan’s example of living out her values. May many follow in her footsteps of service to the cause of justice!

  91. Frances Fergusson on said:

    Joan was the most engaging and strategic of hosts. She put together wonderful dinner parties and stimulating weekends at her lovely home on the Hudson, events that always pulled one away from quotidian concerns into far-ranging Salons of ideas and intellect. I enjoyed many of these occasions, but also loved quieter moments together, always benefitting from her energy and her determination to address issues of consequence. She will always have a place in my heart and mind.

  92. Deborah Meyer DeWan on said:

    It was a deep privilege to have known Joan over many chapters during my career in community preservation and environmental activism, and to have personally experienced her grace, wisdom and tenacity as she expressed and acted upon protecting and preserving our natural and historic environments. She gave so much to so many at every level. Her knowledge and interests were vast and deep. She was an inspiration to me, and from the Catskills to the Hudson Valley and beyond she has left an indelible mark. I will always treasure my memories – big and small – with tremendous gratitude for the great measure of her rich life. I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Joan Davidson.

  93. Howard Charles Yourow, S.J.D. on said:

    Great Lady !

  94. Shelon Jackson on said:

    I’ve never had the chance to get acquainted with Joan K Davidson but I’m still sorry for the loss of a great woman whop did a lot to help others. My prayers go out to her family in this much needed time. God give them the strength that we all need at this time..

  95. Georges ILUNGA KAPONSOLA on said:

    We cannot change God’s will. He alone dictates and decides on the duration of our stay in this miserable world. Do we know whether He has chosen this moment as the most favorable for the departure of His son, who has served the world so well, to return to paradise, where he can rest eternally in His glory? Courage to all those afflicted by this loss./Georges ILUNGA Kaponsola/DRC

  96. Gary Schiro on said:

    I met Joan on my third day working for the then, Hudson Opera House, now Hudson Hall. I had been misled by the Board of Directors that they had the funds in hand to hire me as their first Executive Director, and found out quickly that it was dependent on a grant from the J.M. Kaplan Fund awaiting Joan’s recommendation. There was a boat ride on the Hudson that had been arranged by Hudson River Heritage, and I was told that she and Mike Gladstone would both be there and it would be a really, really good idea if I attended. I had to cancel other plans, but happily, we boarded the boat that rainy Saturday just down the road from where I was living at the time in Staatsburg. There was no question that I was being sized up. And I felt suddenly awkward about my humble working-class upbringing. But Joan and I got on terrifically, and I think by the end of that boat ride we had already become friends.

    She became not only a supporter, but a true and steady mentor, and most especially, a trusted confidant and pal. As many have said, should say, and will say – if she was in your corner there was no stopping her. She was that first critically-important anchor for the Opera House, a project that everyone else said was a pipe-dream. And I know she played that role a thousand times.

    Though we worked on a few projects together during the pandemic, the last time I saw her in person was the summer of 2019. She had invited my husband Bobby and I to a Sunday lunch at Midwood. Quite selfishly I was hoping it would be just the three of us. I got to experience that a few times and it was very, very special. But on the drive over I realized that on a beautiful sunny summer day there wasn’t a chance it would be just us. There were a dozen places set on a table out on the lawn overlooking the Hudson. Even though the guests were astonishing luminaries – a revered architecture critic, a respected publisher, a musical genius and the amazing Brice Marden (another legend lost this week) with graceful and lovely Helen Marden, she insisted more than once to everyone that the lunch was in honor of me and all that I accomplished. Every person at that table was by far more accomplished than I was, but that was how she was. I never once saw her let someone remain silent in her legendary Dining Room. She could coax conversation out of a bronze bust. She always made sure that everyone felt included and valued.

    My deepest condolences to all of her family and friends. Without her tremendous and kind support we will have to rely on each other to move ever higher. Excelsior.

  97. Heidi Fiske on said:

    For Joan’s 95th birthday last June, I wrote a pretty klutzy 4-pp tribute which naturally had a lot about the fund in it. Here is that section:
    Praise for her NY work cannot be overdone
    She headed its arts (1974-77)
    And then its parks (1993- 1995)
    And in between her chef d’oeuvre did she run
    The family’s J M Kaplan Fund.

    It punched way above its weight
    In service to her state
    Goldberger called it Archimedes Lever
    Often showing the nation the way
    To lift a situation forever
    by saving urban centerpieces (Grand Central)
    Or religious institutions (Saint Barts)
    Or pure drinking water (the Catskill Watershed)
    Or forgotten lives (Coalition for the Homeless)
    Or a beautiful river (the Hudson everything)
    Or civil rights (ACLU and so much more)
    Or creating artists’ housing (Westbeth).

    Such a distinguished list – will I spoil it
    If I note that a major project
    Was the now you see it (1992)
    Now you don’t (2022)
    Automatic Public Toilet?

    And then there’s Joan’s pet personal foundation. If it’s a mystery
    Where to publish your photo-filled history
    Just ask a County expert, s/he’ll know the score.
    Quoth the maven “Furthermore.”

    But my connection to Joan was personal — one of the lucky people who spent time with this amazing, generous, life-loving, people-loving force. She was a gift to us all. I will miss her so much.

    Heidi Fiske

  98. Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall on said:

    I’d only known Joan for a few years yet I came to know her enthusiasm and compassion intimately. My father had done some design work for her and had the table in the front hall built. She welcomed me with open arms when I arrived, at her invitation, for coffee at one of her morning salons. She wanted to see the preview of a film about my grandmother, Frances Perkins (first woman to serve in a U.S. Presidential Cabinet) and generously insisted that we show it to the assembled audience at Midwood that day. She went on to support the Frances Perkins Center, a non-profit in Newcastle, Maine, with a generous yearly grant. We had lunch with her a few times and felt encouraged to carry on and do more. I will miss her very much as I know is true for many.

  99. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum on said:

    Cooper Hewitt is honored to be one of the many organizations which benefited from Joan’s vision and passion. Following Alice Kaplan’s leadership of the committee which saved our storied collection for the nation as the Smithsonian Design Museum, Joan continued her family’s investment – serving variously as an Advisory Board member, advocate, leader and supporter for more than half a century. She powered our mission as the nation’s design museum for many years, and we are now also grateful and honored recipients of Furthermore and Alice Awards recognition.
    Our thoughts are with the family in this time of mourning, and we join so many colleagues across New York City in celebrating the intrepid Joan Davidson’s unforgettable life and legacy. A legend indeed!
    With deepest condolences from all Joan’s friends at the museum, and on behalf of the entire Smithsonian community,
    Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

  100. Marianne Lockwood on said:

    Without doubt Joan had the most wondrful life and leaves the most extraordinary legacy. I’m so grateful that I saw her just a few months ago and we had an absolutely delightful dinner together! And for me personally what she did for the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in the very early days, I will never forget. I was also one of the most grateful residents of Westbeth when I was a single Mom with 3 small children back in the 70s. Excelsior to you dear Joan! Marianne Lockwood, co-founder Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

  101. Barbara Little on said:

    My sincere condolences to family, friends, and colleagues. This was a life well lived. May her memory be eternal.

  102. Peter Wight on said:

    Joan Kaplan Davidson was clearly a fine example of what it means to be an American. It is quite clear from the description of her life that she used her intellect, hard work, and focus to gain influence to make a positive change for those who most needed it. Her commitment to civic excellence and community was truly remarkable, and made New York and the United States better for it.

  103. Rhollent Kumwenda on said:

    (local non profit NGO in Mzimba Malawi: Sustainable development Solutions)

    We are very sorry to hear this. Our thoughts are with you during this heartbreaking time: Joan , the President was always with you, such an inspiration and kind _presence in the office and will be sorely missed. Very sorry, words fall short of expressing our sorrow for the loss. MHSRIP.

  104. Allan Shope on said:

    Joan was the living embodiment of the GOLDEN RULE. The world is a better place today because of her life and we were priviledged to have our paths cross over the years. Thank you Joan…Julie and Allan Shope

  105. Heidi Fiske on said:

    Joan turned to any companion, new or known
    Who hadn’t done as much as she by half
    Chin raised
    Eyes sparkling
    Always eager to learn,
    Always ready to laugh.

    Her engaged and enveloping warmth was as evident when I had the privilege of staying at Midwood less than three weeks before her death as it had been for all the years before. Wonderful Joan you were a gift to us all. I will miss you so much.

  106. Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, FAAR on said:

    I met (or you could say bonded) with Joan at Landscape Architect Phil Winslow’s memorial service in 1989. By chance, we sat next to each other and I shared my Kleenex with her. (Joan and Phil worked on Gracie Mansion together; and Phil was a great mentor to me who had a significant impact on my career path). Joan always remembered that meeting when we would see each other at social events. For me, her early appreciation for landscape architecture – both in the city and up the Hudson was especially important to me as a young practitioner and advocate — this was during a time that landscape architects were treated as second (or third) class citizens best deployed to “shrub it up.” Over the year’s Joan, through Kaplan and later Furthermore supported a great number of books and exhibitions produced by The Cultural Landscape Foundation that raised the value and visibility of cultural landscapes — from Picturesque to Modernist. Thanks to Joan’s patronage and civic vision those landscapes that were published did not perish.

  107. Jessica Weiss on said:

    Though we have never met, I know that my community and the world have been made a better place for Joan’s passions and leadership in helping connect people to actions and engagement that matter. What a legacy she leaves. Holding Joan and all who cherish her in the light as she makes her transition.

  108. Enid Futterman on said:

    Our formidable, indomitable, remarkable, irreplaceable friend and fan of IMBY, dear Joan. We thought you would go on protecting your beloved city and valley forever, and in so many ways, you will. But you will also be greatly missed. — Enid Futterman and John Isaacs

  109. Lisa Weilbacker, CCHS on said:

    The Trustees and members of the Columbia County Historical Society deeply mourn the loss of our treasured friend and supporter.
    In the spring of 2005, when Joan was then serving on the CCHS Board of Trustees, the Society’s Columbia County History & Heritage Magazine excerpted her eloquent forward to Monacelli Press‘s 1995 book, The Hudson River. In this activist essay she stressed the radical importance of the 1990 official designation of the Hudson River National Historic Landmark District, some 34.6 square miles of riverfront, and proclaimed the crucial significance of the valley’s historic, cultural, agricultural and environmental resources. (This 34.6 square miles remains the largest Federally designated district on the U.S. mainland.)
             Joan, a strategic leader, a passionate preservationist, and a fierce advocate for nature and culture alike, always brilliantly led the way, both here and in New York City and at the State level. She continually showed us how to fight to preserve and protect our Hudson Valley heritage.
    Her Futhermore Foundation offered essential targeted support for many CCHS projects, including several of the Society’s exhibitions, books, and publications. How wonderful it was and has been that she chose to live at Midwood! Her parties and her recent exceptional Carriage House gatherings there brought so many people together.
             Her kindness, strategic brilliance, and exceptional social graces are unforgettable and inspiring. We can only hope to carry on her remarkable legacy.
    Lisa Weilbacker, Executive Director
    Alexandra Anderson, President, CCHS Board of Trustees

  110. Dea Viinikainen on said:

    My deepest condolences on the loss of Joan K. Davidson. May her soul rest in peace and serenity. Her legacy of kindness and generosity will undoubtedly live on, providing solace and inspiration to others.

  111. Sam & Beth Sachs on said:

    A great leader; a great friend; a great loss.

  112. Randy Tryon on said:

    Joan was an unwavering supporter and neighbor to the Friends of Clermont – we will always be grateful for her love. I am honored to have known her and her legacy will live on forever. My deepest condolences to all her family and friends across the globe.

  113. Jean E. Thomson Black, Yale University Press on said:

    On behalf of the science book publishing program at Yale University Press, I offer our condolences to Joan Davidson’s family on the news of her passing. She was a generous and thoughtful benefactor in the form of the Furthermore grants-in-publishing program. There were numerous heavily illustrated books in our natural history and environmental science lists that benefited from her interest and support. What an accomplished and full life she led–many endeavors are that much richer as a result of her keen intellect and curiosity.

  114. David Campany on said:

    We are saddened to hear the news of Joan’s passing. The world of the arts is a poorer place, but there is a lasting legacy to cherish and nurture.

    Being handed the Alice Award by Joan a few years back was a very proud moment for me personally.

    David Campany
    ICP New York

  115. Charles Houghton on said:

    In March of 2004, thanks to an introduction by Ned Sullivan at a dinner in Hudson, I meet Joan Davidson.

    A few weeks later she came with several of her family to tour the Electric Launch Company, which I had recently relocation in buildings right on the Hudson River in Athens.

    Many people have sited all the magical things Joan did for New York and most particularly the Hudson Valley.

    However my appreciation is more personal, as after meeting Joan we developed a delightful friendship and I was often invited to dinners at “Midwood”, where I met Wint Aldrich and Tracie Rozhon. These two then introduced me to Lise Bang-Jensen, who is the love of my life and we have together ever since.

    So thank you Joan for not only making New York better but making my life better and better.

    With much love,

    Chuck Houghton

  116. Peter R. Borrelli on said:

    The last time I spent time with Joan Davidson was on Cape Cod. She was looking for a place to swim and wanted to know everything about the coastal waters and what I was doing to protect them. She was that way. Purposeful and direct.

    Our paths crossed many times: in New York, of course, the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Adirondacks. I especially admired her interest in publishing. She helped launch and sustain the Amicus Journal at the Natural Resources Defense Council and was not content when it won a George Polk award. Why not a Pulitzer too? she asked.

    When I advised her against taking on the restoration of Midwood on the Hudson, she looked at me and asked in a high-pitched voice, “where’s your VISION?” That she had, and many friends and organizations will be forever grateful that she had plenty.

  117. Andrew Cronson on said:

    Davidson was leaves a remarkable record that will be recalled as an integral part of the historic preservation movement in America. She had a fearless spirit about succeeding even against great odds. Although I was a much younger advocate by roughly 80 years, she believed in the seriousness of what I was doing and always offered to advise on heritage campaigns that I was working on. I hope that I can make her legacy proud as the next generation inheriting the mantle of historic preservation.

  118. Patrick Omutoj on said:

    It is really difficult to say thank you for the great work you have done during your life time on this earth. The only thing that is easy to say is thank you for the love you had for this world. Thank you for sharing all that you gave out. Even single simple idea or advice was a great thing to remember you. How wonderful it is to say God receive our Thanksgiving appreciation for all you made him to do when he was still living on this earth. My symbol for remember is this project idea of building memorial Girls Secondary school in Bukedea District in Uganda so that every day in this school something must be done to remember his efforts on this earth especially that time that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. His will always be remembered every year plus other simple parties to share his love with girls studying in this school. May his soul rest in peace.
    Patrick Omutoj
    Our Community Needs Uganda- OCONE that is working to alleviate poverty,suffering,injustice and advance the health , education, prosperity and well- being of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized people in Bukedea District in Uganda.

  119. Patrick Omutoj on said:

    It is really difficult to say thank you for the great work you have done during your life time on this earth. The only thing that is easy to say is thank you for the love you had for this world. Thank you for sharing all that you gave out. Even single simple idea or advice was a great thing to remember you. How wonderful it is to say God receive our Thanksgiving appreciation for all you made him to do when he was still living on this earth. My symbol for remember is this project idea of building memorial Girls Secondary school in Bukedea District in Uganda so that every day in this school something must be done to remember his efforts on this earth especially that time that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. His will always be remembered every year plus other simple parties to share his love with girls studying in this school. May his soul rest in peace.
    Patrick Omutoj
    Our Community Needs Uganda- OCONE that is working to alleviate poverty,suffering,injustice and advance the health , education, prosperity and well- being of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized people in Bukedea District in Uganda.

  120. John Tauranac on said:

    To the Family of Joan Davidson:
    I first heard the sad new of Joan’s death from the City Club, and what I wrote to the club is still relevant:

    I am so sorry to learn of Joan Davidson’s death. As she knew, I was indebted to her.
    In the early 1970s, the Municipal Art Society believed that the MTA’s Culture Bus Loops that operated in both Manhattan and Brooklyn should have guidebooks that explained the passing sights, and I wrote them. Of course, they wouldn’t have been published unless somebody came up with the money, and it was the Kaplan Fund that did.
    Please extend my sympathies to her family on my behalf. Joan was always gracious, she was committed, she was wonderful to the city, which, like me personally, is in her debt.
    John Tauranac

  121. Robert Devens on said:

    All of us at the University of Texas Press send our condolences on this huge loss. Throughout my time in publishing, Joan and Furthermore have been such a force for good. All of us who work across the areas of architecture and visual studies are in her debt.

  122. Jerry Cosgrove, Farm Legacy Director American Farmland Trust on said:

    Joan had such an impact on New York, and not just New York City and the Hudson Valley. She supported state policy efforts to create the Environmental Protection Fund in 1993, and she generously supported the start up of the New York Office of American Farmland Trust in 1991 – and served on AFT’s Board from 1991 to 1993. As the New York Field Representative and then Northeast Director at AFT from 1992 to 2007, I benefitted first hand from the support of the JM Kaplan Fund. And I also benefitted from Joan’s clear understanding of the tremendous impact and leverage of policy changes at all levels of government. She will be greatly missed, but her impact will live on.

  123. Swapna Reddy on said:

    On behalf of the entire team at Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP), I offer our deepest condolences to the J.M. Kaplan Fund and to Joan’s family. Joan’s commitment to human rights and the communities of New York City left an indelible mark on the Fund; her fingerprint can be seen in its mission, its grantmaking – and its willingness to take big risks on small groups trying to make change. ASAP’s ability to serve 500,000 asylum seekers today would never have been possible without Joan and her lasting legacy, and we are forever grateful.

  124. Caroline Rob Zaleski on said:

    How did she do it? That is organize a life with real purpose and style and completely and broadly make a great difference to the careers of so many and the great State of New York. She was always there to respond to emails, phone calls and remember the names of those she supported over the years. I only got to know her in the early 2000’s when we were on the board of The Preservation League of New York State. If she liked you or liked the cause you were with, that’s all it took for her to always remember your name and previous conversations and put you on the list of all kinds of gatherings at her apartment, Midwood or elsewhere — even weekend stays at Midwood with the most interesting people around. What style and what joy in living she projected: commanding a room, staying back noticeably and appropriately sometimes, always going for the best standards in everything she did with her own love of graphics, design, editing, writing and understanding of art, decorative arts and all else. She could be such fun! She really cared about encouraging people to keep going at difficult work or to start it. I will always be grateful for the Furthermore grant for Long Island Modernism 1930-1980 and her encouragement of my preservation work as a relative newcomer. I will miss you Joan, because you were always there. You kept up the good fight!

  125. Kristin Gamble on said:

    I met Joan only 10 years ago, and I wish it were 50 years ago. Her intelligence, perspicacity, generosity, graciousness, persistence, caring, and good will are traits that will remain with me forever. She has left her mark in the world, NYC, the Hudson Valley and me. We are all better for knowing Joan.
    Kristin Gamble

  126. Barbara La Rocco on said:

    I was deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Joan Davidson, a true advocate and generous supporter of our project, “Going Coastal: New York City: An Urban Waterfront Guide” through the Furthermore Fund. Her dedication to our vision and invaluable contribution will forever be remembered.

    As we navigate the urban waterfront that Ms.Davidson was so passionate about, we will carry her memory with us. Her legacy will continue to inspire us as we share the beauty, diversity, and vitality of New York City’s coastal areas, just as they envisioned.

  127. Steven Holl on said:

    Joan Davidson was an amazing force of nature, a person whose generosity and intelligence is unequalled. We had the pleasure of having dinner with her only three weeks before her passing. She was as lively, brilliant, and attentive as anyone at the dinner table, taking part in every kind of philosophical discussion. She will be greatly missed. – Steven Holl

  128. Arthur Baker, Jacqueline Wilder on said:

    It’s not easy to say goodbye to Joan. She will be a presence here forever.
    A truly beautiful person who made an incredible contribution in many ways.
    We will always remember her calling to talk to Arthur and saying to me….”Is himself there?” It stays in my mind forever.
    We will always remember her beautiful smile, sense of humor and millions of
    contributions that she made. Thank you Joan. Arthur Baker and Jacqueline Wilder

  129. Maynard Toll on said:

    Kay and I had the pleasure of knowing Joan for over 25 years. She was been a great friend over that entire time. During her long and very productive life, she made enormous contributions to the state of New York, both upstate and in NY City, through her personal leadership and through her family’s Foundation. On occasion we have personally benefited from her wise counsel. She was always fun and interesting to be around. We will miss her greatly.

  130. Niland Mortimer on said:

    In Memory of Joan K. Davidson

    It has been my great privilege to have known Joan since 1977, when as a green, young man newly arrived in Manhattan, Joan was my warm and welcoming boss at the Kaplan Fund, then, through marriages and children and many geographic and life changes, as my friend for life. It was a poignant privilege to be with Joan at Midwood during her last weekend there, these remarkable forty-six years later.

    Many will attest to Joan’s achievements in the arts, politics, historic preservation, and philanthropy. These are public, lasting, a true legacy.

    Joan’s legacy I treasure most cannot come again:

    The immense privilege of late August afternoons at Midwood, the wide expanse of the Hudson River flowing beyond the lawn, the dark hills of the Catskills, and the lady of the house seated on the great porch overlooking a view that could have been painted by one of the luminous Hudson River School artists living just up the road.

    The immense privilege of these late August afternoons at Midwood: a respite from all the many ills that afflicted these recent summers: the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump, George Floyd and racial discord, protests, fires consuming California, now Maui—the ancient Anderson Redwood Forest in Guerneville burnt to stumps, some nearly a thousand years old. It’s hard to find hope in any of this. Yet, there on the Hudson River in Columbia County, time stood still. Morning mist on the river lifting to sunlit afternoons and dazzling sunsets before the stars came out at night, and the lone green channel marker blinking across the water. Only a lone hilltop light mares the darkness of the night horizon on the further shore.

    The immense privilege of these late August afternoons at Midwood: in this solitude I’ve swum in the warm river, snaking through the water lilies to reach open water, the current at times so strong I swam in place. The rare freedom of my body only matched by the clouds floating above. Free to be, for a moment in time. Could this ever have been real? Midwood was never, ever, the real world.

    Time can never relax like this again.

    I’m reminded of Richard Murphy’s most beautiful poem, The Woman of the House. I, too, am writing an elegy here, as he was, and I, too, am writing of a woman of the house, the woman who created this gracious home from a Livingston family legacy, a place where grace resides and beauty is a by-word of everyday living.

    Every time I’m there I wondered if it would be my last. Then it was the last. The lady of the house at ninety-six. Another late August has come and I was there again, participating in the immense privilege of life at Midwood. Life is slower, and now diminished.

    It was her house where we spent holidays,
    With candles to bed, and ghostly stories:
    In the lake of her heart we were islands
    Where the wild asses galloped in the wind.

    No wild asses here, but the wind did blow during summer storms when the sky erupted in thunder and lightning, downpour obscuring the river and mountains in a tremendous grey blanket of rain. By night the stars came back and dinner on the veranda with friends, some new, some old. Time regained.

    And those happy days, when in spite of rain
    We’d motor west where the salmon-boats tossed,
    She would sketch on the pier among the pots
    Waves in a sunset, or the rising moon.

    I’m thinking of other times here, times when I brought the women in my life to share this out-of-time experience of hospitality and warmth: the many shad parties, many dinners, a few weekends alone with Joan, to enjoy her company without distraction.

    They are gone, those women in my life. And yet I was here in the immense privilege of Midwood. Friendship trumps love? It’s lasted more than forty-six years—so the answer is yes. Maybe that’s love by another name.

    Joan always reserved Bamboo for me, named for the eight-piece craftsman bedroom set adorned with bamboo inspired carving, a charming period piece of whimsical delight. I’d fall asleep at night to the sound of cicadas coming through the river -facing windows, broken only by the occasional northbound Amtrak train.

    Back in Boston the time away at Midwood had been a healing memory. Jam from Montgomery Place to see me through the winter (peach, blackberry, raspberry, black current) and a small painting of the Hudson at Midwood to revive what fades in my eyes. I will paint many more Midwood scenes myself as the seasons, and years, wane.

    The immense privilege of late August afternoons at Midwood will last when the inevitable more ephemeral days to come alter life in petty ways that must be fought against with all the energy I can muster, a debt repaid every day. Those days have now come.

    I always asked, please one more time. One more afternoon at Midwood, with the lady of the house laying the table for dinner, with friends old and new, civilization realized, out of time, out of place in this dumbed-down, tragic world and time we live in.

    Through our inheritance all things have come,
    The forms, the means, all by our family ;
    The good of being alive was given by them,
    We ourselves limit that legacy.

    The legacy we can expand, build upon, is Joan’s love for New York, her beloved Hudson River, her family and many, many friends, her generosity, her passion for books, and writing, and publishing—so magnificently realized in the work of Furthermore and The Alice award—her grace and formality of connecting old friends with new. These we can celebrate and continue; these will live on in all who have had the immense privilege of knowing and adoring Joan.

  131. Kathryn DeNitto on said:

    Dear Davison Families and JMKF,

    We at the MIT Press send our heartfelt condolences to Joan Davidson’s family and the team at J.M. Kaplan Foundation. I recently joined the Press and had the pleasure of meeting Joan at The Alice awards in 2023. Our art and design books have benefitted from generous grants from Furthermore over the years. It was such a delight to witness her intellect and zest for life and support of beautiful works by interesting people. The world is a better place because Joan Kaplan Davidson was in it.

  132. Ramsay Adams on said:

    Joan was an early and generous supporter of Catskill Mountainkeeper, and we’ll always be grateful for her great friendship and commitment to our shared goals. She had huge impact on so many important issues and organizations, and leaves a powerful and inspiring legacy of driving change and doing good in the world.

    Sending condolences to Joan’s family, friends, colleagues, and the many other people whose lives she touched.

    Ramsay Adams / Catskill Mountainkeeper

  133. Beth Harrison, World Monuments Fund on said:

    The entire staff and Board of Trustees of World Monuments Fund wish to express our deepest condolences on the passing of Joan Davidson. Joan’s extraordinary commitment to the arts and culture–in particular to the preservation of architectural heritage–has made a transformative impact in New York and beyond. She was a truly incomparable leader and her loss is a true loss to the world.

  134. Katherine Boller on said:

    I would like to share condolences on behalf of Yale University Press’s art and architecture list. We will always be grateful for Joan’s dedication to the arts. The Furthermore grant program has been a lifeline for art history publishing, where needed subsidies are few and far between. Many special books on our list and others were realized only because of this crucial support. Joan’s absence will be felt widely, and we are fortunate to have known her.

  135. Laura Hansen on said:

    It was a privilege and a pleasure for me to have known Joan Davidson, a civic leader par excellence. From greenmarkets to Carnegie Hall, she has had a hand in shaping so much of what I love about New York City. My decade of grantmaking at the J. M. Kaplan Fund was under the leadership of her children and their cousins, whose commitment to improving the city’s parks, streets and waterways was certainly part of her great legacy. When Joan called with an idea, suggestion, or question about the Fund’s doings, her perspective usually changed mine. She was both visionary and exacting, influencing my work and my way of seeing. I so enjoyed those conversations. She was a force of nature who will be greatly missed but widely remembered.

    Regards to the family,
    Laura Hansen

  136. Laura Hansen on said:

    It was a privilege and a pleasure for me to have known Joan Davidson, a civic leader par excellence. From greenmarkets to Carnegie Hall, she has had a hand in shaping so much of what I love about New York City. My decade of grantmaking at the J. M. Kaplan Fund was under the leadership of her children and their cousins, whose commitment to improving the city’s parks, streets and waterways was certainly part of her great legacy. When Joan called with an idea, suggestion, or question about the Fund’s doings, her perspective usually changed mine. She was both visionary and exacting, influencing my work and my way of seeing. I so enjoyed those conversations. She was a force of nature who will be greatly missed but widely remembered.

  137. Hal Weston on said:

    R I P Dear Joan….The only thing that exceeded your charm and zest was your boundless energy…..I have enjoyed the privilege of knowing the unbelievable Kaplan family since circa 1959 (J.M., Alice and Joan’s siblings Betty/ Mary Ellen /and Richard…..even knew Jebby). Hard to believe that with Joan’s passing, this magnificent and ever generous family have passed onto the Kingdom of GOD with high honors. Certainly, the NYC and Hudson valley communities are better places because everyone’s dear friend and often colleague Joan was involved . Needless to say, all who knew you will tearfully miss you, and never will forget the memories………. Hal Weston

  138. Diane Haight on said:

    An Amazing Person – who will be greatly missed by all her friends at Walkway Over the Hudson.

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