Donor Profile: Anita May Rosenstein

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Rosenstein surfing in the Maldives.
Rosenstein surfing in the Maldives.

Longtime donor Anita May Rosenstein is helping to power Lambda Legal’s work in D.C.

Some of Lambda Legal’s most urgent work comes out of its recently opened office in our nation’s capital. Thanks in large part to the leadership of donor Anita May Rosenstein, Lambda Legal has staff on the ground, taking on the worst attacks of the Trump administration, a GOP-led Congress and extremist judicial appointees.

“We are living in perilous times, fraught with a meanness of spirit and divisiveness,” Rosenstein says. “Everyone has to step up and do whatever is necessary to push back the hatred and protect the rights we have spent decades securing.”

In 2001, Rosenstein reached out to to Lambda Legal and Senior Counsel and Law and Policy Director Jenny Pizer. A California hospital had mistreated Rosenstein’s best friend after the death of that friend’s partner of 15 years. “Jenny and Lambda offered compassionate advocacy and brilliant legal work,” Rosenstein says. “Ultimately California courts held the hospital responsible for its wrongdoing.”

She made her first gift to Lambda Legal well before the freedom to marry became the law of the land, to help efforts to educate California couples about domestic partnership.

This year, Rosenstein offered a $150,000 matching gift in support of Lambda Legal’s D.C. office. “Her giving catalyzed giving from other people on the West Coast and the East Coast,” Pizer says.

Rosenstein says her sense of social justice was instilled by her family. “As a child I was taught that those who have the capacity to give have the responsibility to give,” says Rosenstein, whose great grandfather, David May, founded the May Department Stores Company in 1877. “I am proud of their legacy and want to continue to help make a difference.”

Lambda Legal is grateful to Anita May Rosenstein and the donors who responded to her initiative with generous gifts of their own. To learn more about making a gift to Lambda Legal, visit lambdalegal.org/donate