Today on Founders’ Week we talk to Carol Ostrow, vice chair of NPF’s board of directors. She’s been an NPF board member since 2012. Ostrow is also the producing director of the off-off-Broadway Flea Theater in Lower Manhattan.
Why did you get involved with NPF?
I wanted to be more proactive in terms of eradicating the disease and helping the Foundation move forward in the areas of research and advocacy. Volunteers like myself can add to an organization in that way.
I found NPF through Mark Lebwohl. It was a circuitous journey to find a doctor. When I found Mark, he was able to really provide incredible medical knowledge and care. He told us about the Foundation, and so we made a gift.
Which NPF activities do you enjoy?
My first effort on behalf of the Foundation was when I chaired the New York benefit that honored Mark Lebwohl. (Editor’s note: At our first Commit to Cure Gala, in 2012, we honored Lebwohl with a lifetime achievement award.)
My volunteer hours are spent in the group efforts that the Foundation sponsors. These efforts are so important. I know some of the key players in the New York area who suffer from psoriasis and I know how helpful it is to them to have NPF. They’re like a group of teammates who deeply understand what are the variances of the disease, what a toll it can take both physically and mentally. I haven’t, in my own case, needed to avail myself of all the activities the Foundation offers. But many others do.
You belong to the Foundation. I think that’s a very important distinction, that people feel so closely tied to a medical organization. It provides them with a lot of support. They have a family feeling. I applaud that effort. And I want to add, I will do anything for NPF.
What would you tell someone who is thinking of joining NPF?
To a parent I would say that, unfortunately, your child is facing an autoimmune disorder that will be a part of the fabric of their lives forever. It’s never too soon to join the effort that takes you beyond the limits of your own body and puts you on a playing field where you can really help shape the course that this disease takes, which not only affects you but affects so many others. And that it is one incredibly strong, positive and forceful way to tell this disease that it has not beaten you.
Bonus: Husband-and-Wife Team
Ostrow’s husband, Michael Graff, joined the board of directors in 2018. This might make Ostrow and Graff the first husband-and-wife team to serve on the board. Graff, an active member of the New York division, has supported and participated in the Team NPF Cycle event in the Hamptons. He was a Team NPF Cure Champion in 2016.
“My wife and I share similar passions but possess different strengths,” Graff says. “She thought that my strategic expertise with both for- and not-for-profit companies would help move NPF forward. I’m happy to be a part of this committed group of individuals.”
Other Interviews in This Series