Gene was born on August 8, 1941 in Edmonton, Alberta. His parents had emigrated in 1911 from the Ukraine. They were agrarian people with little formal education. They had 14 children and lived in a small, four bedroom house in Edmonton. By the time Gene was 10 years old both of his parents had died.
From this humble beginning, Gene found himself travelling to attend school in Deerfield, Massachusetts not knowing where it was or what it was. He then attended Harvard College where he attained a Bachelors' Degree, two Masters' Degrees and a Doctorate. He married Janet Mittell and they had three children, all of whom were part of the original Incorporators of the Fund.
Gene believed deeply in the principle that "small steps taken are better than big jobs planned." Throughout his life, and with this philosophy, he took a great interest in helping young people.
One of those first “small steps” occurred in 1971 when Gene and his friend Tim Taylor took a group of American high school hockey players to the Soviet Union. From then on Gene was passionately involved in providing opportunities for youth of this country and foreign nations.
He believed that “for us to be fully human we need exchanges of youth between countries to break down barriers.”
Gene was so appreciative of what Deerfield did for him that he wanted to start a school like Deerfield in the Ukraine. That was his “grand scheme”. He hoped, however, that if that dream were not possible the Fund would provide scholarship, travel, and other opportunities to enable young persons from foreign nations, especially Ukraine, to come to America and Canada for study. Hopefully, funds will also be available for worthy American and Canadian youth to travel to, and study in, Ukraine and other foreign countries.
The Directors and Officers of the Fund have committed themselves to attaining Gene’s vision and dreams to the fullest extent possible, and they respectfully seek your support.