Sophomore receives international award for community service work

Lizzy Thomas

Association of Fundraising Professionals, an international charity fundraising organization, honored Jack Stovitz ’16 with its Outstanding Youth Volunteer award last month for his work with the book drive organization BookEnds.

Stovitz was first introduced to the Los Angeles-based BookEnds as a fourth grader at Warner Elementary School, when students were asked to bring in used books for a drive. Stovitz opted to distribute the books as well, a trip that took him to the Venice Boys and Girls Club. To Stovitz, then an avid reader of series like the Magic Treehouse, the lack of books that greeted him and his classmates was sad and shocking.

“We showed up and I saw the empty book cases. They had two bookcases, but only one had only one book on it,” Stovitz said. “It made me really sad because as a kid I loved reading, and here were all these kids who had no books.”

The gratitude at their donation, however, prompted a different set of emotions in Stovitz.

“When we showed up with boxes and boxes full of books, the kids just got these huge smiles on their faces and it made me really happy and excited,” Stovitz said.

After the Venice delivery, Stovitz volunteered with BookEnds as much as possible, going on whatever book drives he could make and urging friends to donate books.

He became involved on the charity’s Youth Board before making the leap in seventh grade to its Board of Directors, on which Head Prefect Ashley Sacks ’14 also sits.

This past October, a BookEnds volunteer emailed Stovitz informing him that he’d nominated him for the AFP award and that he’d won. Reading the email on the shuttle bus back from cross country practice, Stovitz was floored.

“I was shocked, I had no clue,” Stovitz said. “I was on the shuttle and I turned to my friends and was like, ‘Guys, I’m winning an award.’”

The AFP hosted its annual National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon Nov. 13. Stovitz left school to attend the luncheon at the Beverly Hilton, where he accepted his award and the picture frame-type plaque that came with it and gave a two-minute speech about BookEnds.

The day’s lone low point came when Stovitz realized fellow honoree and winner of the Celebrity Making a Difference award, Lakers player Pau Gasol, was not amongst the attendees.

“I was really excited because for the celebrity award, Pau Gasol won and I thought he was going to be there, but the Lakers had a game in Denver,” Stovitz said. “It was still really cool though.”