INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Thirteen Indianapolis area not-for-profits will share in an $8 million gift made from the Estate of Sara I. Reuben, who died in January 2010, and her late husband Albert G. Reuben who died in December 2002, both of whom were long-time residents of Indianapolis. The gift’s recipients were selected and distributions determined by the Estate’s Personal Representative, Mrs. Reuben’s son, Lawrence (“Larry”) M. Reuben, a local attorney and life-long resident of Indianapolis, in partnership with Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). The donee organizations represent a broad cross-section of community needs and issues that were important to Larry’s parents, including elder care, education, homelessness, mental health, civil rights and justice, women’s health and reproductive rights, early childhood development, immigrant acculturation, human and animal rights and Jewish education, heritage and community welfare (see list below).
Larry incorporated his parents’ community involvement, consultation with his brother and sister, (both residents of the Washington, D.C., area), his own prior community engagement via board service and other activities, and assistance from CICF during the selection process. He also required each organization to develop and submit proposals for using the funds in order to better understand the potential reach of the donation. “We wanted to have a community-wide effect on as many of today’s most important and urgent social, economic and cultural issues as we can,” Reuben said. “The purpose of this gift isn’t to make contributions to these organizations merely for the sake of contributing alone, as worthy a purpose as that may be, but it is to make contributions which will create an immediate and long lasting impact for the central Indiana community and legacy for my parents who never forgot from where they came.”
“This is an incredibly generous gift from the Reuben family, one that represents their ongoing commitment for the welfare of their community, their concern for friends and strangers alike, and their transformational leadership that is making Indianapolis a better place for all peoples who live, work or visit here,” said Brian Payne, president and CEO of Central Indiana Community Foundation. “It has been CICF’s honor to be their partner in this effort, to offer our community knowledge along with our granting experience and expertise to Larry and his family, and to help make their philanthropic vision a reality.”
Larry’s father, Albert, was born in Omaha, NE, in 1909. His mother, Sara, emigrated from Belarus to the United States in the early 1920s. Due to immigration issues at the time, Sara and her family were directed initially to Cuba before relocating to Omaha. Albert and Sara were married in Omaha in 1939, and moved to Akron, Ohio in 1944, where Albert sold aluminum siding and associated products before moving to Indianapolis in 1948 to start a franchise with his former employer. His sales and manufacturing facility was located for many years near Bush Stadium, the old Victory Field, on West 16th Street.
Besides capitalizing on the post-World War II housing construction boom, Albert Reuben was also actively involved in other real estate projects and business ventures, including Eastland Plaza in Bloomington, Indiana, Century Plaza in Indianapolis, Indiana, a number of Holiday Inn and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises. “My folks came to Indianapolis with not much more than two dimes to rub together,” said Larry Reuben. “Theirs really was a ‘rags-to-riches’ story – they really embodied the American dream.”
The Reuben’s had a daughter, Elaine, and two sons, David and Larry, and were actively involved in both secular and sectarian communities. Through their vision, The Albert & Sara Reuben Senior and Community Resource Center at the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis was created and opened its doors in 2002 shortly before Albert’s death. The Center is also home to ElderSource, a network of coordinated services provided to older adults in the greater Indianapolis area. With its partner agencies, ElderSource offers a wide range of services and programs to support and assist older adults and their families as they adapt to the aging process.
Albert Reuben was a 32-degree Mason, a special and reserve Deputy Marion County Sheriff, a member of the Marion County Zoning Board and a member of the Indiana Civil Defense Board. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, and past president of Park Regency, a community of the JFGI for the well-aged.
Albert and Sara were deeply committed to, and involved in, other local, national and international organizations and causes. Sara spent many hours as a Red Cross Gray Lady volunteer at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital on Cold Springs Road, reading letters, newspapers and books to, writing letters for servicemen wounded and paralyzed in Viet Nam. Her true love was Hadassah, the local, national and international Jewish women’s organization in which she held leadership roles for some 40 years that involved the building of hospitals and schools in the State of Israel.
Following is the list of recipients of financial support from the estate of Sara I. Reuben, and projects associated with the support:
- The Albert G. and Sara I. Reuben College and Career Counseling Centers at the Excel Centers of Goodwill $500,000
- Construction of The Albert G. and Sara I. Reuben Engagement Center in partnership with Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) $750,000
- Humane Society of Indianapolis – To establish a second location in Fountain Square and facility upgrades $500,000
- American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana for an educational initiative $500,000
- The Immigrant Welcome Center $1,000,000
- Albert G. and Sara I. Reuben ElderSource Program – To provide a menu of services designed to support “aging in place” options and populations $600,000
- Planned Parenthood of Indiana – To support educational initiatives $500,000
- The Julian Center – For construction of The Sara I. and Albert G. Reuben Counseling Center $750,000
- CICF for Grameen Bank of Indiana – To help establish this micro-finance institution in Indianapolis $1,000,000
- The Bureau of Jewish Education – To support technology needs for Hebrew language classes and Jewish education, including remote learning and Holocaust educational material provided to area teachers $50,000
- United Way – To establish the Sara I. and Albert G. Reuben Endowment Fund for Early Childhood Development $500,000
- Congregation Beth-El Zedeck – To support adolescent programming $250,000
- The Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University –
- WFYI to amplify the voice of the community in the areas of health, education, the arts and public affairs…. $750,000
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