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The Faces of '96

A Simpler Life:

Betsy Taylor

December 27, 1996|CONNIE KOENENN

An inmate author does his best to save children from a life of crime.

An actress struggles to regain her life and livelihood after losing both legs in a crash.

The wife of a socially prominent attorney leaves her husband and children to marry a convicted murderer.

A wife-attorney defends her White House advisor-husband after he is photographed in the arms of another woman.

You met these remarkable people on the pages of Life & Style in 1996. Our writers and photographers took you into their worlds for a moment, to ponder their dilemmas and learn about what makes them tick.

And then, because the news is the news, they vanished from our view.

But their stories did not end once you had read about them. Here, we catch up with several of 1996's most memorable people.

*

The Center for a New American Dream is off the drawing board.

"We have a director, a headquarters and an agenda for the first two years," said Betsy Taylor, who has spearheaded the project. Its ultimate goal: to help the nation revamp its consumption patterns.

A Merck Family Fund survey in 1995 showed an American public dissatisfied with commercialism--82% agreed that we buy and consume far more than we need--and tired of the stress of keeping up with the Joneses.

Impressed by the results, Taylor, with Merck seed money (she's director of the fund), began laying the groundwork for a new organization. She now chairs a national board of directors that recently tapped Ellen Furnari, former director of Ben and Jerry's Foundation, as executive director.

The first year's focus will be public education, Taylor said. "Our biggest goal is to spark a national dialogue on how the American dream is, and isn't, working."

Furnari, who will move into an office in Burlington, Vt., next month, said she can't think of a more exciting job.

"This concern is bubbling up in so many places--we are talking about economic structure, spirituality, culture and the viability of life as it has evolved on our planet," she said. "Our challenge is to tie it all together."

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