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Peter Demirali Scholarship Fund

Author: David Kotok, Post Date: November 10, 2012

Charitable gifts in Peter Demirali’s honor and memory may be made to the newly created Peter Demirali Scholarship Fund.  This fund is established at the Columbus Community Center in Salt Lake City, in perpetuity.  

Columbus is a nonprofit agency that provides programs and support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they can live and work in the community. It was a place that Peter visited and supported the past few years.

The link is: http://www.columbuscommunitycenter.org/peterdemirali/index.html .

I, too, have visited Columbus.  The tour of Columbus was a learning experience for me, as it was for Peter.  Since my first visit, I have been a regular supporter of Columbus.  Our firm, Cumberland Advisors, has pledged an initial $25,000 contribution in memory of Peter.  This is in order to “seed” the scholarship fund.  In addition, members of the firm are donating personally.

The information below is excerpted from a letter to me by Stephanie Mackay, the Columbus Foundation director.  Her contact info is at the bottom of the letter and also available through the link to the Columbus website.  Please note any contributions with a memo that designates the fund in Peter’s name.  Please contact Columbus directly to arrange any technical assistance, wiring instructions, or appreciated property gifts.

Foundation director Mackay’s letter follows.

Dear David:

Many, many people have been deeply touched by the loss of your dear friend and colleague, Peter Demirali. Please accept my most deeply felt condolences. I first met Peter a few years ago when he visited Columbus Community Center. He was clearly moved by his visit here, and in fact, he made annual donations to Columbus’s “Dignity through Work” annual scholarship fund. Last year, Peter made a contribution to the Columbus scholarship in his son’s honor as a way to celebrate Ben’s academic achievements as he launched his college career.

The “Dignity through Work” scholarship is unique in that the recipients are young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who must overcome incredible obstacles to find meaningful employment. Statistics tell us these young adults will face a 65% unemployment rate over their lifetime. Columbus was one of the first nonprofits in the country to innovatively address this issue by creating the “Dignity through Work” scholarship, which allows these young adults to pursue their post-secondary education with specialized vocational training and support. We leverage these scholarships by partnering with businesses to ensure that recipients receive appropriate, community-based, on-the-job training. Our business partners, in turn, discover the value of turning obstacles into career opportunities for these young adults.

This week, at our annual “Dignity through Work” event, we honored a young woman as one of our “2012 Outstanding Workers.” She was in the audience with her proud family and future employer. After four years on scholarship, she is now a young woman with a career with one of Utah’s largest employers.

You asked that I suggest a contribution to Columbus in Peter’s memory that would appropriately honor him as a respected colleague, businessman, citizen, friend, and father. One of Columbus’s giving options is the establishment of an endowed scholarship fund that would financially assist a young adult with disabilities in receiving specialized vocational training. An endowed gift of $150,000, named in Peter’s honor, would provide the financial support, in perpetuity, for one young adult to receive vocational training and support for one full year. If schedules permit, we would like you to announce this scholarship endowment in Peter’s honor and memory at our annual Dignity through Work event in October 2013. See www.columbuscommunitycenter.org  for more about our organization and event.

Again, on behalf of Columbus Community Center, we offer our condolences. Please contact me at your convenience with any further questions you might have.


Stephanie Mackay,

Foundation Director

Columbus Community Center

3495 South West Temple

Salt Lake City, UT 84115

801-262-1552, ext. 136 (office)

801-699-5954 (cell)


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