John Weidner Foundation
Butler University Chapter of the John Weidner Foundation for Altruism
On April 30, 2006, the Butler Student Sociology Association (SSA) established a University Chapter of the John Weidner Foundation for Altruism. John Weidner was a Dutchman living in France when the Germans invaded in 1940. Over the next five years, with the help of up to 300 like-minded compatriots, he helped approximately 1,000 people escape the Germans into safety in Switzerland and Spain. The escapees included American and British downed airmen, Jewish refugees, and Dutch, Belgian, Polish and French citizens fleeing the Germans. John was honored at the end of the war by the Governments of Holland, the United States, Britain, Israel and France. He was also honored at the opening of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, in 1993.
John died in 1994 in California where he had lived for many years. His widow, Naomi, created a foundation to honor John’s altruistic work. William Ervin, a former Sociology adjunct professor and board member of the Weidner Foundation, helped create a Butler Chapter because of the clear connection between the programs represented in the Department of Sociology & Criminology that stress community service, promote human welfare and social good.
In addition to the Foundation Scholarship, the Indianapolis Downtown Rotary Club also provides financial support for a second scholarship award for altruism which is given annually.
The SSA annually gives the scholarship awards to two deserving Butler students. SSA presents these awards and honors the recipients at the Department of Sociology and Criminology annual banquet during the spring semester.