Judith Scheide’s Legacy
January 03, 2024 | Town Topics online article
One of the sweetest, kindest, most generous, affable Princetonians moved back with the angels. The ramifications and influence that Judith Scheide had on me and so many other souls are geometric. Judy was an educator, activist and philanthropist. She impacted thousands of persons with disabilities and their families. Four years ago, Judy challenged our nonprofit with a $100,000 matching donation. She made this gift to Community Options and today we continually leverage these funds in support of the organization’s mission.
When Community Options hosted its 30th Anniversary Gala in May 2019, Ms. Scheide was invited to give closing remarks. We had hoped to end the event on a high note with a few words from a warm and graceful guest. Instead, Ms. Scheide surprised us with an announcement that she would donate $100,000 as a match to all new funds raised. In response, each of Community Options’ regional offices from across the country hosted community fundraising drives.
Community Options not only generated enough revenue to leverage the full match, but also attracted new donors who became active and steady partners. Local leaders developed lasting connections to sponsors and networking skills that would support future events and needs.
Ms. Scheide knew the power of generating excitement through matching gifts. As we reflect on and mourn her passing, we hope she understood the breadth of the ripples she sent out nationwide; from forty offices to sixty, ten states to twelve, countless new programs established, thousands placed in jobs that they love, dozens of beautiful and accessible homes built, hundreds of families reunited with children moved out of institutions and back to their community. This was all part of Judy Scheide’s legacy. Her memory is honored by people with disabilities whose lives, thanks to her generosity, are dignified, visible and meaningful.