In addition to gifting the DeCordova's Rappaport Prize for the past decade, the generosity of Jerry and Phyllis Rappaport has sustained and advanced the mission of the Museum and many other Boston organizations—including those developing innovative public policy, breakthroughs in medical research, and creative alliances in education and leadership. The Rappaport Foundation is among the very few nationally that recognizes and supports the natural linkages between contemporary art, inspiration, and leadership across many fields.
As Jerry Rappaport has noted, "By championing contemporary art, the Rappaport Prize raises the awareness of and appreciation for new media and art forms. In essence, the Rappaport Foundation seeks to stretch the imagination of the viewer as it encourages the artist to continue in a career of art making."
Jerry Rappaport has been a longtime political leader, real estate developer and philanthropist in the Greater Boston community for the last 60 years. While a student at Harvard and Harvard Law School, he became involved in the Boston political scene, founded the Harvard Law School Forum and then quickly emerged as one of Boston's most well-known political leaders in the 1950's. Rappaport was one of the pioneers whose commitment to turning Boston around, by developing Charles River Park, home and workplace to over 10,000 people, helped to drive Boston's renaissance. He expanded his commitment to the Greater Boston community on a grand philanthropic scale by founding the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation in 1997. Today Jerry remains active as Chairman Emeritus of the New Boston Fund, of the law firm he founded, and serves on advisory boards for McLean Hospital, Cure Alzheimer's Fund, Harvard University's Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, and Suffolk Law School's Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service.
Phyllis Rappaport chairs the board of the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation. She is a co-founder and director of Cure Alzheimer's Fund which supports prize-winning research for preventing this disease. She serves on boards and national committees throughout the region for institutions including the Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, Harvard Kennedy School, Smith College, and the DeCordova Museum. A graduate of Smith College and Simmons Graduate School of Management, Phyllis Rappaport is a businesswoman formerly with Hewlett Packard and PriceWaterhouseCoopers and currently on the board of New Boston Fund.
The Rappaports are enthusiastic art collectors, particularly of modern and contemporary painting, and their collection includes a wide array of works by artists working in New England as well as internationally. They reside in Lincoln, MA, which is also home to the DeCordova.