On February 10, 2012, a date that would have been her 83rd birthday, a group gathered in midtown Manhattan restaurant to kick off the Table 4 Writers Foundation in Elaine Kaufman’s honor. The goal was simple: to help struggling and promising writers, just as Elaine had for nearly 50 years.
Energized by the launch, the Foundation put its mission in motion: several events would be held each year to raise money. Then a yearly annual writing contest, to be held in the late summer/early fall, was instituted. A panel of judges, which included writers, literary agents, and publishing professionals, was formed to select the winners based on their writing ability.
The first year of the Foundation culminated in spectacular fashion at our first annual gala and award ceremony held in March of 2013. That night, the elegant dining room at the New York Athletic Club brimmed with Elaine’s faithful including famous authors who had made her restaurant their second home. The highlight of the evening was the Foundation awarding grants to five promising writers. Along with shining a light on five burgeoning talents, and continuing Elaine’s tradition of helping struggling writers, the gala helped keep the memory of Elaine and the imprint she had on the literary world alive for a new generation of wordsmiths.
The author Gay Talese, who was also honored at the first gala, pointed out the magic the Foundation had managed to capture. None of the promising award winners had actually been to the fabled restaurant. But as Mr. Talese stood in front of a room that was filled with the great lady’s spirit he addressed the winners by saying: “Welcome to Elaine’s you five. There’s now a little bit of Elaine’s in all of you.”