The Judy Lopez Memorial Foundation

The Judy Lopez Memorial Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit public benefit corporation (501(c)(3) entity) founded in 1985 and registered with the State of California.  Current board members are Joan and Jeff Slottow, Lou Carter Keay and Coco Lopez Anagnostakis.

History of the Foundation and of the Award

Lou Carter Keay Remembers:

“When we heard that Judy had passed away, I was president of the WNBA/LA.  I telephoned Desda Slottow and Ralph answered the phone.  I told him that WNBA/LA wanted to send a memorial gift and asked him what charity the family preferred.  He told me that the family was discussing a memorial that they would set up as a foundation, and that he would get back to me.  He phoned me later and asked that we meet at a hotel on Sunset Blvd. west of the 405.  We met in the bar and he and Desda outlined their early plans for a foundation to be set up to establish prizes for children's literature in Judy's name.  They asked if I would serve on their board.  I went back to  the WNBA/LA board of directors and we voted to support the Judy Lopez Memorial Foundation by promoting it and furnishing public relations assistance for the awards as our contribution.  The first awards program was held at the library of the elementary school on the UCLA campus.  We sat in tiny children's chairs, listened to a harpist.  We had a wonderful selections committee to jury the  books, and Ami Kirby headed it up.”

Ami Kirby second from left;  author Sylvia Cassidy third from right Coco Lopez speaks at Seeds Elementary School Jeff Slottow, Meg Flanders, Ginny Griffith and Ellen Braby

Ami Kirby Remembers:

“One afternoon in 1985 Desda came into the children's department, introduced herself, and spoke about Judy, her recent death, and her (Desda's) desire to set up a children's literature award in her name.  She  told me that she was in contact with Lou, who was the WNBA/LA president at the time, and that Lou had expressed interest in the project.   At that time in my career I was intensely involved in children's literature and was interested in discussing and evaluating literary merits of the literature.  So Desda found me at the right moment -- full of energy and eager to pursue my interest in searching out the best in the literature.  So I agreed to join the WNBA and start the project.  I put together a selection committee of children's librarians I knew,  several of whom were on my staff.  Unfortunately I cannot remember all their names.   Some of those early selection committee members were Terrie Dorio, Ginny Griffith, Judy Kantor, Mary Purucker, Ellen Braby, Kay McDonald and Rita Lipkis.”

Author Sylvia Cassidy Ralph Slottow and Jeff Slottow sell the winning books

Early awards ceremonies were lunches and teas.   All the initial ones were held at the  Seeds Elementary School at UCLA, where Coco attended school. Then, several different venues were used before the UCLA Faculty Center became the award location.

Margaret Grundstein and Coco Lopez at an award dinner held at the Sportsman’s Lodge Mike Gustin, Hadassa (Dossie) Gilbert, and Desda Slottow on Ami Kirby’s deck. Lou Carter Keay at the Sportsman’s Lodge Margaret Grundstein at right

The following pictures were taken at a champagne brunch held on the deck at Ami Kirby’s house in 1988 to honor award winner Sylvia Cassidy who wrote the book M.E. and Morton. It was a beautiful afternoon with many WNBA board members, selection committee members and the author all present.

Ami Kirby, author Sylvia Cassidy, Mr. Cassidy, Desda Slottow Sylvia Cassidy, Kay McDonald, Rita Lipkis Lou Carter Keay