A Life of Charity, a Legacy of Helping Seniors

 In Caring, Foundation

Eleanor Grunbaum, of blessed memory, was a beloved member of the East Bay Jewish community–a lifelong member of Temple Sinai and a Federation donor with a remarkable story.

Born in 1925 in St. Paul, she grew up in a close-knit Jewish community in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her father was a charter member of the Temple of Aaron, and her mother was an active member of Hadassah and president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Sholom Home for the Aged. They were a family that looked out for the less fortunate, and that was something that Eleanor did throughout her long life.

She moved to Berkeley in 1945 to attend the University of California and ended up staying in California, getting married, and having children. After her marriage ended, she worked full time to support her three children. As her daughters like to point out, she was both a “single mom” and a “working mom” long before there were even words for such things.

And she was “always there” for them, as well as for friends and cousins and organizations serving those in need. School tuition, braces, day camp for her grandchildren; a new car and down payment on a house for cousins; health insurance for a close friend: She was always there to help. She was also generous with her time, working the phone bank for the annual KQED auction, sorting and setting up at the Oakland Museum’s White Elephant Sale, and volunteering for more than 20 years at the John Muir Hospital clinic at Rossmoor. And she was a generous donor to Meals on Wheels, the Humane Society, SPCA, Planned Parenthood, the UC Berkeley library, and (of course) the Jewish Federation of the East Bay.

“For my Aunt Eleanor, the Federation represented the best of the Jewish community in the sense of working together, raising money, and actually working for a community,” said Fred Hertz, a cousin.

So when she passed in 2017, her daughters decided to make a contribution in her memory to the Jewish Community Foundation of the East. The gift was made for the purpose of supporting seniors, particularly Holocaust survivors, and it has yielded significant financial resources for that purpose.

The Federation and Foundation have earmarked the funds to support Holocaust survivors, whose financial and emotional needs can be particularly acute. There are an estimated 230 Holocaust survivors in the East Bay.

The Grunbaum family’s gift, therefore, will help fulfill a great need in our community. It will also help ensure that Eleanor’s legacy lives on.

“My sisters and I are happy to be able to contribute to the Jewish Federation in memory of our mother,” said her daughter Marilyn Moller. “She would be glad to know that the contribution will provide for elderly people who need help.”


What’s the best advice for people thinking of donating non-cash assets like real estate to charity? In Fred Hertz’s own words:

“When you are giving a non-cash gift, you will need to consult a professional advisor, such as an attorney, accountant, or financial planner. When choosing an advisor, you should be thinking about the advisor’s values and approach to charitable giving—because that shared commitment to a charitable goal will come in handy when things get complicated.”


Are you interested in donating a non-cash gift? These kinds of gifts can provide benefits both to the community and to you when used to create a charitable fund at the Foundation, a charitable remainder trust, or a charitable lead trust. Contact The Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay for information on how we can support your charitable giving: 510.839.2900 or foundation@jfed.org.

This is informational only and should not be considered financial or legal advice. Before making any charitable gift planning decisions, please consult a professional advisor.

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