The Raskin Family—Isreal, Selma, Leonard and Melvin—is the inspiration for the Raskin Foundation.

Isreal Raskin was born in 1895 in Gomel, Russia, the second of eleven children born to Morris and Dallas Raskin. In 1910, he emigrated to the United States, settling in Kansas City, Missouri. Throughout his twenties, he held a number of different jobs—bookkeeper, salesman, even a stint as a fur trapper in Alaska. After serving under Harry S. Truman in World War I, he met and married Selma Blasbalg in 1928 and had two children, Leonard and Melvin. In 1936, Isreal formed L&M Mercantile Co. (named for his two sons), a wholesale hardware business. He passed away in September of 1959 at the age of 64.

Selma Blasbalg Raskin was born in 1908 to Max and Anna Blasbalg. She grew up, married, raised two sons and spent her entire life in Kansas City, Missouri. Her sister Lorraine was born in 1905. Selma passed away in 1984.

Leonard Raskin was born in July of 1929, and was a lifelong resident of the Kansas City area. A graduate of Southwest High School, Leonard joined his father at L&M Mercantile, which was sold to Foley Manufacturing and ultimately became the Mirro/Foley division of Newell Corporation, where he served as president. He married his wife Sarah in 1949 and celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with her before his death from cancer in 1999 at the age of 70. He had three children, Phillip, Maryl and Garry, and two grandchildren.

Melvin Raskin was born in 1934 and also spent his life in Kansas City. He spent his career as a manufacturer’s representative. He married his wife, Sandra Leviton, in 1957 and had two daughters, Michelle and Debra, and five grandchildren. Melvin died of the complications of heart disease and diabetes in 1995.