Reprinted with permission,
Courtesy, Asbury Park Press, a Gannett Co. newspaper.
ASBURY PARK PRESS STAFF WRITER
, - Ten months
of the year, the talk is focused and the mission is clear:
The show will go on, and women walking through the doors of
the Jacqueline M. Wilentz Comprehensive Breast Center at Monmouth
Medical Center in Long Branch will get what they need. The
66 members of the well-oiled machine that raises dedicated
funds for the breast center will see to that.
Barbara Goldfarb will see to that.
The guiding force behind the annual Two Rivers Antiques Show & Garden
Tour, which has raised more than $2 million in dedicated funds
for the breast center in the show's 12-year history, is a slender,
attractive woman who does business with purpose and passion.
An interior designer by profession and a devout philanthropist
at heart, Goldfarb is a gold mine of ideas.
More importantly, this week's Asbury Park Press Hometown Hero
gets things done.
When Goldfarb, a Little Silver resident, first took part in
the garden show a dozen years back, she had a simple, decisive
thought. "I realized I could do more," she says.
So she tapped into her strengths and figured out what the community
lacked that could add not only to the fundraising efforts for
the Wilentz Breast Center, but to the general education of the
community: a nationally recognized antiques show featuring dealers
from across the country.
How to get dozens of prominent, hard-to-snag dealers to Monmouth
County didn't faze Goldfarb; she had contacts, she had powers
of persuasion, she had logic on her side. She also had Gale Grossman,
of Spring Lake, and Geri Skirkanich, now of Florida and Rumson,
on her side, chums who chipped in with time and acumen at the
And so the antiques portion of the now nationally acclaimed
annual fundraising show again will open this Friday evening at
the Red Bank Armory and continue through the weekend, the result
of 10 months of hard work on the part of its "godmother and inventor," Barbara
Goldfarb and the members of her show committee.
"Barbara tires me out," says Terry Ingram of Oceanport, this
year's overall chair of the show. "She's got a lot of energy,
and she's really dedicated. She's our CEO, really."
"She invented the show," adds Lindsey LaRocca of Rumson, who
chairs the dealers' committee. "Barbara's like our godmother,
our matriarch. It was her idea, her dream to have this show.
She had to sell people on it, but now we have a waiting list
(of dealers) to get into the show. Barbara has built it up into
what it is."
The proceeds from the show funnel dedicated funds to the breast
center. Indeed, says Robin Siegel, special events manager for
the Monmouth Medical Center Foundation, the fundraising arm of
the hospital, "It allows us to maintain excellent care, with
the most up-to-date equipment. With this money, we're able to
purchase cutting-edge equipment andoffer the highest standard
of breast care."
Thanks to the efforts of Goldfarb and the members of her committee, "We
were one of the first breast centers to have digital mammography," says
Laurie MacArthur, director of development for the foundation. "That
was a direct result of the antiques show's contribution. We meet
with Barbara and the committee every year and tell them about
the equipment we'd like to have. And Barbara and the committee
make a commitment to get it for us."
This time out, there's an added enticement: an antique 1956
Thunderbird convertible, which will be for sale at the show.
"Tracy Turi got us that," says Goldfarb of the Rumson woman
who long has volunteered her efforts for the show and the breast
center. "It's white with a red leather interior. Mint. Classic."
Goldfarb, mind you, knows extraordinary from merely nice. Long
a collector of American antiques and folk art, she was a pre-med
student at Barnard College, Columbia University in New York,
but "I did not go to medical school — I got interested
in painting and design." While her husband, Dr. Michael Goldfarb,
now the chief of surgery at Monmouth Medical Center, was at Harvard,
she and her children — Greg, now 35, and Eric, 34 — took
advantage of the many cultural opportunities in the Boston area.
But when the Goldfarbs moved to the Jersey Shore in 1974, Barbara
Goldfarb noticed something the community lacked: an interactive
Thus began her first fundraising effort for her new community,
which resulted in the creation of the children's museum of Monmouth
Museum at Brookdale Community College in Middletown.
"I created it in 1978," she says, touting the work of a pair
of like-minded friends, Barbara Turner and the late Diney Goldsmith,
who helped her found the museum. It's now called the Sherburn
Becker Wing and is aimed at grade-schoolers. Goldfarb also worked
to establish the Monmouth Museum's Wonder Wing, an interactive
invention for preschool children.
Goldfarb's world always centers around people; from taking pains
to name the dozens who devote time to the fundraising show ("Geri
Skirkanich goes back and forth between here and Florida now,
but she's been there since the beginning, just like Gale Grossman;
Terry Ingram is amazing, and it couldn't be done without her;
Lindsey LaRocca is a true antiques authority herself; Laurie
Manzo is from Rumson, and she's always there for it") to keeping
tabs on dealers and their needs to praising the efforts of the
people who work at and for the breast center, the "godmother-CEO-inventor" doesn't
miss a beat or a detail.
Which is how she not only thinks of what needs to be done, but
sees it all through.
"Barbara Goldfarb is passionate about the breast center, a staunch
supporter over the years," notes Laurie MacArthur. "She's more
than generous — she's there, always there. Barbara just
makes it spin."
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