Siskin Memorial Foundation Celebrates 60 Years
More than 150 people gathered to honor the memories of brothers Mose and Garrison Siskin and their families on Sunday, Oct. 24. The luncheon in the Read House's Silver Ballroom was an opportunity to celebrate the two men who founded the Siskin Memorial Foundation 60 years ago. During their lives, the brothers selflessly gave of their resources, time and talents to many Chattanooga projects and causes that improved the lives of children and adults with disabilities. Even 30 years after their deaths, their legacy lives on through the philanthropy of their descendants and through the work of Siskin Children’s Institute and the Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation.
Siskin Steel and Supply Company, Siskin Children’s Institute and Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation hosted the event. Community members Tom Kale, Pete Cooper and Jill Hindman spoke to the audience about their experiences with Mose and Garrison or with the work of the foundation.
ABOUT MOSE AND GARRISON SISKIN
- The brothers owned and operated Siskin Steel and Supply Company, a business their father Robert, a Lithuanian immigrant to the United States, established in 1910.
- The brothers founded the Siskin Memorial Foundation in 1950 as a way to formalize the philanthropic work. They began helping others in the early 1940s after a life-threatening injury prompted Garrison to make a pledge to God that he would help those in need if he recovered. Mose joined him in his vow.
- The brothers were especially interested in helping those with disabilities and did much to make life better for children with special needs through various philanthropic projects. Through the 1950s, 60s and 70s, they:
- Funded educational buildings with rent-free space for local organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Chattanooga Area Literacy Movement, Easter Seals, Adult Education Council and the Tennessee Speech and Hearing Center in the early 1950s.
- Built a chapel for free interdenominational community use in 1954.
- Started an outpatient rehabilitation facility in the early 1950s for those with physical disabilities, which included a school for young children with physical and developmental disabilities. The Siskin School was a precursor to today’s multi-faceted Siskin Children’s Institute, which serves children, families and professionals through four areas of focus—education, outreach, health care and research.
- Built a $1 million rehabilitation building with expanded services in 1960. This facility was the precursor to today’s inpatient and outpatient Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation.
- Rallied the community to help those with special needs by founding the 365 Club in the early 1960s, asking local citizens to give a penny a day or more to the cause.
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