May 2, 2013

Phillip Margolinis the 19th winner of the Gladys McCoy Award for lifetime volunteer achievement. Mr. Margolin co-founded Chess for Success (CFS) in Portland in 1992, which has created chess programs serving 2,900 students annually in 71 low-income elementary schools in Oregon and Washington. By playing chess, these at risk students learn high level critical thinking, problem-solving skills and self-confidence essential for success in school and in life. Learn more about CFS and the difference it's making in children's lives by watching this short video.

 “Mr. Margolin is an ideal recipient of the McCoy Award given his extraordinary advocacy, generosity and work to improve the lives of MultnomahCountyyouth and adults seeking to overcome major life challenges and find pathways to success,” said Steven Joiner, Chair of the County’s Citizen Involvement Committee (CIC). The CIC makes the Award each year to an outstanding nominee who has given exemplary time and service to the county community.

Mr. Margolin has been passionate about teaching children chess in Multnomah County since the late 1970’s. His commitment to teaching chess is based on his own personal experience as a young student with disciplinary issues who was in classes for the lowest-performing students. Learning chess turned his life around and led him to become an honors student, a Peace Corps Volunteer, a top attorney, and a best-selling author. He served as CFS’s Board President for 13 years and is a major program donor. Learn more about Chess for Success

Along with his work as a chess coach and with CFS, Mr. Margolin serves on the Board of Literary Arts which sponsors the Writers for the Schools program in area high schools. He also has been a court-appointed attorney for a dozen people facing the death penalty in Oregon and pioneered the use of the battered woman’s syndrome in murder cases of abusive spouses. Additionally, he has established several ongoing scholarships for single mothers attending Portland Community College in honor of his wife who died of cancer. To all his volunteer service, Mr. Margolin brings passion, tireless advocacy and a commitment to justice.

The Gladys McCoy Award was established in 1994 to honor those who have given outstanding service in the area of community service and citizen involvement. Mr. Margolin certainly fits that criterion both through his inspiring example and legacy. His name will appear on a plaque with past winners on permanent display in the Multnomah County Boardroom.