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11 January 2016
Remembering Evelyn Falkowski

We are saddened by the loss of Evelyn Falkowski, Former Executive Director at UNA-NCA.

A memorial service was held on April 30, 2016. Read remarks from current UNA-NCA Executive Director, Paula Boland.

I had the privilege of working with Evelyn Falkowski when she was Executive Director of UNA-NCA. We collaborated primarily during the 1990s, during which time I was President of the Chapter. Her offices were in the old basement office on 18th St.

What a wonderful lady Evelyn was - and backbone of UNA-NCA. I still cannot believe how much she accomplished for the Chapter. During the time I was President she ran the office without any paid help - only the occasional volunteer. Her dedication to her responsibilities and the welfare of UNA were unmatched. She was always a delight to work with and taught me a great deal. She made me, and many others, more successful leaders of the Chapter and UNA as a whole. No one could be more deserving of the UNA-NCA service award named after her.
She will be gratefully remembered and sorely missed.

Our thoughts are with her family.

- Edison W. Dick,  Past President, UNA-NCA

As one of the old-timers going back to the days when UNA-NCA was quartered in the basement of the stately mansion on 18th Street, it was my privilege to serve with Evelyn Falkowski as a volunteer. I remember walking into her office one day, offering to help out. I was put to work stuffing envelopes. In the course of  our ensuing conversation I mentioned my publishing background. She looked up and without a pause said, "Wonderful! Stop what you're doing and write a press release for our next meeting --  we have just enough time to make a three o'clock deadline at the Post!"  

It was this quick response to every opportunity to "advance the cause"  and her no-nonsense but engaging manner expressing confidence and camaraderie with anyone willing to "pitch in,"  which set her apart and was basic to our ability to operate effectively on a "shoe string." And, I hasten to add, it was her personal generosity, thereafter, in establishing an endowment in her name that helped provide a firm financial foundation for our chapter. 

May I also pay tribute to another example of what I consider Evelyn's "statesmanship" -- her contribution to the United Nations, itself  and to its historical role as a "peoples" organization, not simply an association of member states?

In preparation for the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter in San Francisco in 1995, she arranged a commemorative meeting, which former U.S. Attorney General, Elliott Richardson chaired. Of those who participated in that historic event, I attended as a former Naval V-12 trainee at U.C. Berkeley and a member of the Debate Team, which toured local high schools discussing  the significance of the UN Charter Conference. 

I offer my condolences to the family and my great respect for a remarkable woman.

- Richard C. Rowson, UNA-NCA Board Member and Recipient of the 2015 Evelyn Falkowski Award

Evelyn Falkowski was totally dedicated to the National Capital Area Chapter of UNA-USA! Evelyn went so far as to recruit family members visiting her for Thanksgiving Dinner to detour to the UNA-NCA office to get out the newsletter. She pressed her friend Dr Mary Louise Becker to be membership chair and work toward making UNA-NCA largest US chapter. Her friend Ann McDonnell became Embassy Events chair to make sure this popular activity sang and danced.

During an interim period in 2000, Evelyn was pro bono acting executive director. She had found OC Iroku to help with information technology issues. Notwithstanding Evelyn’s dedication to her Macintosh, she recognized the growing importance of PC’s. Evelyn’s generosity led to UNA-NCA being able to hire OC who then proceeded to establish a chapter web site, list serve, and electronic newsletter!

Evelyn also recognized the importance of young professionals and fully supported Elizabeth Latham’s efforts to create UNA-USA’s most successful Young Professionals group. In her spare time, Evelyn worked with Warren Thompson to raise funds to clear land mines in Herat, Afghanistan.

Evelyn’s mother had told her that real estate was the best investment. She bought a condo unit which she gave to UNA-NCA and we happily cashed rent checks. Evelyn managed the sale of that condo unit herself to save real estate fees and donated about $300,000 to double UNA-NCA’s endowment funds! Evelyn Falkowski—a force to be reckoned with and a friend deeply missed.

- George Garland, Former Executive Director, UNA-NCA

I came to know Evelyn just after she had been recruited to serve as executive director of the UN Association of the National Capital Area.  She had already had a distinguished career as lawyer and civil rights activist. From the outset she was determined to serve, and ready to work in the most inhospitable office surroundings that you can imagine, at first in Tenleytown and then with “improvements” in the basement of a downtown building on 18th Street where the publishing business of later UNA-NCA president Walter Beach were located.

Evelyn initiated the transformation of UNA-NCA from largely a luncheon club of board members with but three public events per year, to a modern citizens’ organization – a transformation that continues today. In recent years Evelyn’s commitment to UNA-NCA was especially clearly demonstrated to me when she came to the annual meeting of the organization with her walker.  Impediments to her movement were unable to stop her determination to do what she wanted, and to show her care and concern for UNA-NCA!

Evelyn was a model UNA-NCA leader:  She dedicated many hours of time, well beyond any reasonable sum of ‘work’ hours, to the activities of the organization.  She recruited new members, including many people now in leadership positions.  She mentored younger leaders, and gave them encouragement. And, finally, she provided financial support by donating her condo apartment in the Lauren, with the rental fees to finance UNA-NCA’s office rent. After several years as a landlord with building management responsibilities entrusted to a new executive director ill-suited for the role, UNA-NCA’s leadership decided to sell the flat and place the funds in an endowment – the Falkowski Fund - to support office rent. This is a nice, continuing memorial.

Evelyn’s service to UNA-NCA was celebrated by the establishment of the Falkowski Service Award in her honor.  The annual ceremony bestowing the Award not only recognizes important service to UNA-NCA, but provides large numbers of UNA-NCA members, including people who had no occasion personally to know Evelyn and her work, an occasion to learn about her and the magnificent contributions she made to the work of UNA-NCA.

- A. Edward Elmendorf, Former President, UNA-NCA

Evelyn Falkowski is a legend at UNA-NCA. That we are today the largest and most active chapter of the UNA-USA (now part of the UN Foundation) is due in no small measure to dynamic leadership and organizational skills of your mother. Each year at our annual meeting, we give out the Evelyn Falkowski award  to honor one of our volunteer leaders for extraordinary service to our organization. Awardees often speak of the inspiration she provided.

Today UNA-NCA has more than 1000 members, more than half of whom are under 40 years old. Our flagship year-long global classrooms program reaches over 3000 Middle and High School students in 85 schools in the region, and our Model UN is the largest outside event hosted by the State Department each year. We have a vibrant Young Professionals group, strong advocacy team and inspirational human rights awards reception on Capitol Hill, as well as dozens of multigenerational programs that increase public understanding of the work and values of the United Nations. Evelyn would be very proud that we are continuing the work she so passionately advanced.

- Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret.), President, UNA-NCA

Several years ago I had the chance to have lunch and visit with Evelyn in her retirement community and wished I could have made more visits.  I appreciated your family effort to enable Evelyn to attend the UNA-NCA Annual Meetings as long as possible.  I was privileged to be a recipient of the volunteer service award given by this UNA Chapter in Evelyn’s name every year and to be part of recognizing other chapter members with this award.

I first met Evelyn at national board meetings of the World Federalist Association.  When I became Executive Director of the national WFA organization in Washington in the 1990s I had the chance to support Evelyn in UNA-NCA work as well as working with her as a World Federalist volunteer leader.

We got to know Evelyn more when traveling with her to some of the World Federalist Movement meetings and remember one international council held near Bordeaux, France on the grounds of a family chateau.  Evelyn was accompanied by a granddaughter and we enjoyed learning more about Evelyn’s vision of the future she wanted to create for her family.

I think of Evelyn as a member of the Greatest Generation who put values into action after World War II and rallied others to see ourselves as global citizens.  It was some years before I heard more about Evelyn’s work in enforcing civil rights in situations that I could only imagine placing myself in.

Evelyn led by example, including the creation of an endowment to support an office better than the one she staffed as a volunteer leader.  As chapter treasurer I know what the value of that resource has meant for our continuing work.

Evelyn’s perseverance and personal commitment to building and supporting the United Nations and the UNA Association in Washington were enormous.  Chapter volunteer leaders, and all the members, owe her a continuing debt and are inspired by her example.

- Tim Barner, Vice President, Finance, UNA-NCA