June 16, 2021

The Maurice & Sally Goller Explorer Scholarship Fund

By Abby

Photo Start is excited to announce the Maurice and Sally Goller Explorer Scholarship Fund, which aims to raise $75,000 to strengthen and sustain our work educating the travelers, storytellers, and leaders of tomorrow. The inspiration for Photo Start evolved out of this love story for the ages.

Once upon a time…

It was a typical school day in April 1943. Sally was enjoying her lunch at Brooklyn’s Lincoln High School when a teacher, who thought Sally was being too loud, moved her to the track team table. There, Maurice introduced himself and welcomed Sally to the seat next to his. That weekend they went on their first date: a movie and stroll on the iconic Coney Island boardwalk for Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and french fries. They’ve been inseparable ever since.

Maurice and Sally Goller began life as husband and wife on October 20, 1945, at a small ceremony in Brooklyn. With Maurice, a medic and corporal in the U.S. Army on a weekend pass from Fort Dix, the newlyweds enjoyed a short but unforgettable honeymoon at the historic Hotel Tudor (now Westgate New York Grand Central). For a young couple from Brighton Beach, staying at an elegant Manhattan hotel was a big deal!

That weekend was the first of many adventures in travel for the Goller family. Over the years they commemorated most of their anniversaries with a trip, eventually including their children and grandchildren. They have visited an incredible 120 countries!

On October 20, 2020, Maurice and Sally celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary!


It was the first time in 50 years they spent their special day at home. To recognize the happy couple, Westgate NY invited Maurice and Sally to be their first guests upon re-opening in July 2021. Westgate NY is also honoring the original rate ($6.25 a night for three nights in 1945) for their 76th and all subsequent anniversaries.  In addition, the grand re-opening festivities will include an appearance by Maurice and Sally as well as a digital exhibit by Photo Start students, which is a tribute to the Goller legacy of education and exploration. Learn more about the Westgate’s Grand Re-opening and how you can enter to win a weekend getaway in New York City. 

Why are we sharing this story with you?
Because Maurice and Sally are the  grandparents of our founders, David and Abby. 

At home and on their travels with their children and grandchildren , they role-modeled the importance of family; the value of education – including travel and exploring other cultures; the power of meaningful, shared experiences; and lifting up others who are less fortunate.

It was the family trip to South Africa in 2015 that inspired Abby to join her brother, David, in founding Photo Start. Her work in education and David’s experience as a photographer led them to Photo Start’s mission: Use photography to teach students the skills to thrive in any environment.

A family legacy begins…

Photo Start received 501(c)(3) status in 2016 and began operating in Kenya and South Africa. In 2020 we added remote classes in the Bronx, NY, and Philadelphia, PA. Earlier this year we also welcomed new partners in Uganda, and this summer we are offering programs in Chicago, IL, and  San Francisco, CA.  

Now you have an opportunity to inspire a new generation of explorers.

Your contribution to the Maurice and Sally Goller Explorer Scholarship Fund ensures students learn valuable professional and life skills while exploring and connecting with their communities. Everyone who donates will receive exclusive access to a digital exhibit and inspirational student stories throughout the year.

$75 = one week of lessons for seven students

$150 = one week of lessons and one memory card each for a dozen students

$225 = one week of lessons for an entire class (Typical class size is 20-24 students.)

$300 = Gives one student a full 24-week program and a memory card

Consider a monthly donation of $25 to ensure a student has a memory card (which allows them to own and keep their work) and a full program of lessons! You can add a custom amount in the blank space provided for one-time or monthly support.

Together, let’s give our students a photo start to their happily ever after!


If you would like to donate cryptocurrency or other funds, please contact us at support@photostart.org.

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