Remembering Liz Levitt Hirsch

Published 11:15 am Monday, June 17, 2024

Elizabeth “Liz” Levitt Hirsch passed away from ovarian cancer on Sunday, May 26, 2024. She was the daughter of Mortimer and Mimi Levitt, founders of the Levitt Foundation. Liz became active in the foundation in 2001 and, in 2003, successfully launched the first Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena, California. From there Liz continued to bring the program to life in cities across the country.

Liz worked diligently with other charitable organizations throughout her life, serving on numerous nonprofit boards and supporting organizations that foster social justice and access to the arts. She received many recognitions such as: an Honorary Citizen Award from the City of Memphis; recipient of the Ruby McKnight Williams Award from the NAACP (Pasadena chapter); Gold Crown Award from the Pasadena Arts Council; Finalist for the Vanguard Award presented by Western Arts Alliance; and Finalist for Philanthropist of the Year by Association of Fundraising Professionals, Los Angeles. In 2018, she was the recipient of the Founders Award from the Liberty Hill Foundation.

The Levitt program made its way to Middlesboro in 2015 when a group of volunteers and Middlesboro Main Street brought life to a vacant gravel lot. That lot is now home to a magical venue that makes music move each summer. With the help of volunteers and donations, the venue now has a permanent stage and a beautiful wall mural created by Jaime Corum.

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As Board President of the Levitt Foundation, Liz was instrumental in expanding the number of free Levitt concerts across the country, and our community benefited enormously from the vision and generosity of Liz and the Levitt family. Since we were one of the first Levitt AMP sites in the country to really take off, Liz considered Middlesboro special.

“We were one of the only AMP sites that she visited personally. She wanted to check us out, and she was thrilled with the venue and the people she met here,” said Levitt AMP Middlesboro member, Bo Hoe.

Liz will always hold a special place in the heart of Middlesboro. Without her, Levitt AMP Middlesboro would not be here today.

The first show of this year’s Middlesboro Music Series, set for Thursday, June 20th, will be dedicated to Liz. Kelle Jolly and Will Boyd open the show at 6:30 p.m. at Levitt Park with headliner Blair Crimmins and The Hookers taking the stage at 7:30.