Over the summer, our community lost a philanthropic leader and a friend when Betty Schoenbaum passed away. The legacy of Betty will continue to live on at WRC through her scholarship recipients and the indelible impact of a life well lived.
Betty and her husband, Alex, were extremely philanthropic supporting many causes in Charleston, WV and here in Sarasota, WRC being one of them. However, it was not until after Alex passed away that Betty hit her stride in giving and in fact, some of her biggest efforts started AFTER she turned 90. Of note is The Alex and Betty Schoenbaum Kiryat Yam Educational Campus in Kiryat Yam, Israel, a facility that includes a high school student body of mostly Jewish Ethiopian and Russian immigrants who had fled persecution. Schoenbaum donated more than $5 million to the campus.
Betty believed that the way out of poverty is through education, and “an education is the most important thing you can give a person”. Supporting women funding their education through scholarships was important to her and she has provided scholarships at WRC for over 30 years. In a full circle of life moment, when Betty was in SMH intensive care unit, her nurse, Christina Creadon, was a three-time Betty Schoenbaum scholarship recipient.
Schoenbaum, in addition to her own giving, influenced other philanthropists in the community, encouraging people to give while living so they could witness the significance of their contribution. One of her favorite sayings was “hearses do not have luggage racks”…she wanted people to give while they were alive so they could enjoy seeing the benefits of their gifts.
On a personal note, I am going to miss you, Betty. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to get to know you and spend time with you. I appreciated your candor, humor, interest, and willingness to share all of your gifts. You will always hold a special place in my heart and serve as an example of the joy and fulfillment a life well lived brings.
The 2018 WRC Scholarship Program awarded $22,000 in scholarships. Scholarship applicants increased by 40% and there was a 62% acceptance rate.
- 18% had attended WRC program
- 27% were previous scholarship recipients
- 82%have dependent children
- 86% currently work
- 45% currently work in the medical field
- 82% are seeking a career in the medical field
- 68% seek a nursing degree (36% Registered Nurses and 27 Licensed Practical Nurses)