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December 31, 1980- July 6, 2002


On July 6, 2002, Russell Ferber tragically died in a car accident at the age of 21, just as he was about to graduate with a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. A year later, The Russell Ferber Foundation was founded to provide a living legacy – funding programs that assist young people who lack the financial resources to successfully follow a path that parallels aspects of Russell’s too short life. To date, the Foundation has focused on three beneficiaries:

C-CAP, Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP): The Foundation has established The Russell Ferber Memorial Scholarship through C-CAP, a non-profit organization which has created professional culinary education programs in inner-city high schools. In seven venues across the country, C-CAP develops curriculum, provides teacher training, secures equipment and outfits classrooms into working kitchens, while simultaneously arranging internships with top restaurants. C-CAP students participate in a fiercely competitive process for scholarships. One of the highest awards granted in New York is The Russell Ferber Memorial Scholarship, a full scholarship in the Baking and Pastry Arts Program at the CIA. Our first scholar, Dominique Campbell, graduated in 2006, worked at Walt Disney World, returned to the CIA for her BA degree (’09) and works as a the lead pastry chef at Citifield. Our next scholar, Melissa Montalbano, (now Falgiano) graduated in ’08, worked at Olana in New York City and, in addition to spending time with her two young sons, has a private cake baking business. Santo Saitta graduated in April ’10, worked at Pasticceria Bruno and at Boulud Sud. He competed in the Junior Pastry World Cup in Rimini, Italy, finishing fifth in the world! He currently runs Patrizia Restaurant in Red Bank, New Jersey. Jessie Kuznitz graduated in January 2014, continued at the CIA to complete her B.A., graduated Summa cum Laude and is on leave from Maison Kayser due to a back injury. Sara Montesdeoca graduated in 2016 and is working at Colson Patisserie. Nicole Carlini, graduated in December 2018 and is now working at Dominique Ansel Bakery (think cronut!). Our 7th  Russell Ferber Scholar, Jahqyad Austin, began his studies late in 2018. 

Culinary Institute of America (CIA): The Foundation provides an annual contribution to a Russell Ferber Endowed Scholarship directly at the CIA. A portion of this fund is accumulating to become a permanent endowed scholarship, while another portion provides annual stipends to students who complete their externship obligations with the highest rating for professionalism, a quality very much respected by Russell, and the hallmark of his approach to culinary activities.

Village Community School (VCS): Village Community School, Russell’s wondrous K-8 school, was unable to provide the support needed for students like Russell with distinct learning disabilities. VCS' Russell Ferber Memorial Fund has been an important resource in helping students with learning differences in their struggle to succeed, funding educational and psychological evaluations, language therapy, outside tutoring, additional part-time teacher work and support in confronting the language and writing skills needed to transition to high school. A number of students have been helped immeasurably by the Fund.

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