Jill Spieler, a resident with 40 years of volunteerism to Scarsdale, will be the 2019 recipient of the community’s highest award, the Scarsdale Bowl.
The Scarsdale Bowl is awarded annually, since 1943, to recognize an individual’s outstanding contribution to the civic institutions of Scarsdale, by giving unselfishly of their time, energy and effort.
“Jill Spieler is a Scarsdale gem, contributing in a generous and unselfish fashion, again and again,” Deborah Pekarek, chairman of the Scarsdale Bowl Committee, said. “Her calm demeanor, collaborative spirit, and her desire to find long-lasting solutions to improve and deliver important services for Scarsdale are hallmarks of her volunteerism. Her leadership abilities are extraordinary and span village, school and other community institutions.”
Spieler will be honored at the Scarsdale Bowl dinner Wednesday evening, April 10 at Mulino’s at Lake Isle Country Club in Eastchester. Pekarek encourages all members of the community to attend.
“The Bowl dinner is a wonderful event thanking an individual for their service to benefit the common good of our beloved Scarsdale,” Pekarek said.
The Bowl Committee said it would send out invitations in late February. However, one need not receive an invitation in order to attend the dinner, and the committee said all who are interested should sign up for the dinner on the Scarsdale Foundation website, scarsdalefoundation.org, starting Feb. 25.
The Bowl Committee, a diverse group of 15 community volunteers, selects the recipient after reviewing many worthy candidates who are nominated by the community. The Scarsdale Foundation, which engages in a broad range of philanthropy in the Scarsdale community and supports many local institutions, maintains the annual tradition of awarding the Scarsdale Bowl. One of the foundation’s primary functions is funding and distributing need-based scholarships to deserving Scarsdale High School graduates and Scarsdale residents in their sophomore through senior years of college.
On Sunday, Jan. 6, the committee voted to honor Jill Spieler for her extraordinary service to the community. Delegates from the Bowl Committee, including Pekarek, Scarsdale Foundation president Randy Guggenheimer, foundation liaison to the committee Seth Ross and committee secretary/treasurer Abby Sroka together with committee members Karen Brew, Karen Ceske and Dorothy Finger arrived at the Spieler home to announce the committee’s selection. When advised of the recognition bestowed upon her Spieler said, “I am touched.” After allowing the news to sink in she said, “I am just beginning to feel the excitement of this honor, understanding it is a symbol of the community we live in, as I begin to recall all the wonderful Scarsdale volunteers I’ve had the opportunity to work with over these last 40 years.”
There are many people in this community who “work very tirelessly” in many different organizations and volunteer capacities who are worthy of being nominated for the Bowl, she said, “but I’m very honored to be recognized.”
When doing volunteer work, it’s not something that’s done to achieve anything in particular, she added, rather it’s done to participate in the community. “That’s something that’s an added value in this community,” she said. “You also meet such a wide breadth of people when you volunteer.”
Spieler has a long, distinguished record of volunteer services to Scarsdale and beyond. Spieler began her service to the Scarsdale community in 1981 as a founding member of Kids’ BASE and The Little School. She served as a board member from 1983 to 1988 when she became president of the program’s board. She served a two-year term as president and continued on the board through 1998. During her tenure, Spieler provided outstanding leadership during the difficult period when Kids’ BASE lost its original space in Scarsdale School District’s facilities.
As reported by Jackie Irwin, “[Jill’s] focus, energy and collaborative skills were critical in the effort between the village and the program to raise $1.8 million for the current facility adjacent to the pool complex.”
Spieler continued her commitment to this community by serving on the Scarsdale Village Board of Ethics, the Advisory Council on Youth, and the Village Parks and Recreation Council, becoming chairman of the Recreation Committee in 2000. Spieler was also an active member of the League of Women Voters and chaired the League’s Voter Service Committee.
Spieler also joined the board of the Scarsdale Forum in 1999, where she later served as first vice president and president. Following her service on the Forum, she was nominated to the Scarsdale Board of Education in 2007 where she served for two terms and was elected president in 2011. She served as president of the school board for two years.
— with reporting by Catherine Ferris