The Rob Ruby Memorial Fund: Supporting Jewish teen and young adult programming

 In Building, Foundation

At Foundation, we’re here to support you in all your philanthropic endeavors. Creating a designated fund is a beautiful way to honor your family’s legacy or remember a loved one.  Below is one example of how one person did just that.

This is a background statement written by Federation and Foundation leader Eileen Ruby, to explain why she created The Rob Ruby Memorial Fund.


“My husband Rob and I have both been lay leaders in the East Bay Jewish community and, in his case, beyond for over 20 years. At the time of Rob’s death in 2016, he was President of Berkeley Hillel and an officer on the national BBYO board. His focus was on Jewish teens and young adults, because those are the identity-forming years.

BBYO was seminal in Rob’s upbringing. He maintained lifelong friendships with many of his buddies from the Solomon AZA chapter in Detroit. Rob was delighted with BBYO’s resurgence after it separated from B’nai Brith. I think this was the most rewarding volunteer position he ever held. He loved serving on the board. It was fun to be part of something successful, especially because he was able to make significant contributions to the leadership team.  He would come home jazzed every year from the International Convention where 2000 Jewish teens gathered to celebrate and learn, and wowed by the teen leaders.

Rob was particularly impressed that BBYO had commissioned a longitudinal study that confirmed that BBYO kids were likely to identify as Jews when they became adults. While Rob was president, Berkeley Hillel instituted a similar study, I believe the first Hillel in the country to do so.

What we understand from our years of involvement is that Jewish teen programs work best when they are immersive – camps, trips, retreats, etc. There’s magic in Jewish teens spending time together, particularly if you involve them in planning and leadership. It’s a bonus from our perspective if there is some Jewish educational component as well. We also understand that the world of teens changes quickly, so we don’t want to tie this fund to any particular institution or program. It’s okay to support new things, but please try as much as possible to evaluate their effectiveness.

This fund for Jewish teen programming is a tribute to my beloved husband Rob Ruby. He was loved and admired by the entire Jewish community for his intellect, charm, humor, equanimity and decency.”



Would you like to learn more about creating a designated fund at the Foundation for a community need you’re passionate about? Contact us at 510.809.4900 or foundation@jfed.org to learn about tax-smart ways to make a difference in the world.

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