Remembering Mort Kolko

This week, Foodlink lost a beloved friend and leader.

Mordecai “Mort” Kolko passed away on Feb. 7, 2021 at the age of 87.

In 2000, Mort and his brothers, Sam and Mike, donated a building at 936 Exchange Street that served as Foodlink’s headquarters for 12 years and –- more than any other gift in our history -– enabled us to grow and develop into the organization we are today. Mort went on to serve and support Foodlink for the next 20 years in his role as Treasurer of the Foodlink Foundation Board. In 2019, we had the privilege of honoring Mort with the inaugural Thomas C. Ferraro Legacy Award, named for Foodlink’s founder. The photo above is from his acceptance speech.

Mort lived out the concept of tikkun olam through his philanthropy, volunteer work, and commitment to social justice. According to his obituary, “Mort was devoted to institutions in Rochester that made people’s lives better. He volunteered his time and wisdom, working with, among others, Temple Beth El, the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, the Genesee Regional Home Care and Hospice, Lifetime Home Care and Hospice, the Montgomery Neighborhood Center, and the Foodlink Foundation. His goal was always the same – to help build and strengthen institutions that would, for years in the future, help people live better lives.”

In the video clip below from a 2019 interview, he reflects on how gathering around a table with loved ones was not only an occasion for joy, but for recommitting oneself to the fight for justice, and an end to poverty. Mort will be deeply missed.

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