Lynne and Mark Groban
Lynne and Mark Groban

For This Family, Supporting Brandeis Is a Choice

Sorry, Ohio State. Your alumna Lynne Groban has adopted Brandeis as the university that gets her keenest philanthropic attention.

Lynne and her husband, Mark, recently made a generous gift to establish an endowed scholarship, helping the Brandeis National Committee’s Scholarship Campaign surpass its goal of raising $1 million by June 30.

“Establishing a scholarship at Brandeis is in keeping with our embrace of tikkun olam [repairing the world],” says Groban, BNC’s national vice president of fundraising. “I have always respected what Brandeis is: a Jewish-founded, nonsectarian university committed to giving deserving students the opportunity to pursue an outstanding education.”

Groban’s gift to Brandeis makes a significant impact. After all, Brandeis is not yet 70 years old and has only about 40,000 living alumni, less than 10 percent of Ohio State’s estimated 500,000 graduates.

“I still get solicitation letters from Ohio State, but the school doesn’t need me,” she says. “Ohio State had thousands and thousands of graduates long before Brandeis was even an idea. At Brandeis, I feel like I can really make a difference.”

The Grobans understand the need for scholarships that support promising students. Scholarship assistance allowed Mark, a retired psychiatrist and former CEO at Mid Atlantic Medical Services, to earn his degree from Albany Medical College. Lynne and Mark have endowed both a deanship and a scholarship at that school in recognition of its central role in his life.

For the Grobans, philanthropy is a family affair. Lynne and Mark’s three children are deeply involved with their charitable causes. “It’s a way to introduce them to the idea of giving back and helping the less fortunate,” she says.

Lynne has been involved with the BNC since 2000, when, after retiring as a dental hygienist, she joined the Greater Washington, D.C., Chapter at the urging of friends. She was soon appointed to the chapter’s membership committee. In 2003, Groban teamed with fellow membership committee co-chairs Ginny Schultz and Abbey Brahin to recruit more than 100 new members to the chapter.

She also served as the D.C. Chapter’s fundraising co-chair and an executive board member. She has been a member of the BNC’s National Executive Committee for many years.

“I am very proud to be affiliated with Brandeis and help it achieve the goals set out by its founders,” she says. “Even though I didn’t attend Brandeis, it still feels like my place.”

Madalyn Friedberg
Madalyn Friedberg

Message From the BNC President

Thank you!

Because of the generosity of those who have given donations both large and small, we have exceeded the goal of our two-year BNC Scholarship Campaign — to raise $1 million by June 30.

Scholarships are vital because they give Brandeis the financial resources to continue to educate the most promising students, regardless of their ability to pay.

I am so proud that, as BNC members have done for nearly 70 years, we again showed our collective commitment to supporting an important Brandeis initiative.


Madalyn Friedberg

Stand-Up Guys: More Men Enter Brandeis National Committee Ranks

Twenty-five years after men first joined the Brandeis National Committee, they are playing an increasingly prominent role in the organization.

The National Executive Committee now includes five men, and hundreds of men are active in BNC chapters across the country. According to estimates, men make up about 5 percent of the overall membership of 25,000.

“It is gratifying to see so many men involved in the Brandeis National Committee,” says Beth Bernstein, MA’90, the organization’s executive director. “Their participation has enhanced the BNC and helped us in our mission of supporting Brandeis.”

Perhaps nowhere are men more involved than in the Los Angeles Chapter, where its men’s group has more than 100 members, according to men’s group president Richard Cohn. Three Brandeis alumni joined recently.

A typical monthly calendar for the LA men’s group might feature a breakfast gathering with a speaker, a steering committee meeting and a field trip (to the Los Angeles Times printing plant, for instance). The men have organized smaller interest groups — based around current events, walking, sports, and financial and legal topics — that meet periodically. The group also established an endowed fellowship in neuroscience.

Many members of the LA men’s group first learned about the BNC and Brandeis through their wives. “The men appreciated what the BNC was doing, were attracted by the history and mission of the university, and wanted to get involved,” says Cohn, a former shoe salesman.

Cohn’s BNC story is typical, for both men and women. He attended a meeting, built an instant rapport with the members and quickly took on a leadership role — at his second meeting, he volunteered to produce the men’s group newsletter.

“After the first meeting, I said to myself, ‘This is something I need in my life,’” Cohen remembers. “Once I got involved, I looked more closely at the university and have come to appreciate what it represents.”

At the Greater Boston Chapter, Ron Levy is looking to LA for inspiration as he leads the effort to establish his chapter’s men’s group. Levy serves on the National Executive Committee and chaired a task force on BNC governance and structure several years ago.

Levy wants to recruit men who are already familiar with the BNC through their spouses. He says the Greater Boston men’s group hopes to hold quarterly events at Brandeis and in the Boston area.

“The objective is to build a men’s group that has a close affiliation with Brandeis, so we can build awareness of why we’re here and what we’re doing,” Levy says.

BNC Chapter Roundup

“Words, Wit and Wisdom,” the San Fernando Valley Chapter’s annual Book and Authors Luncheon, featured three prominent authors:

Carole Bayer Sager, Grammy and Oscar-winning songwriter, and author of the memoir “They’re Playing Our Song.”
Jonathan Shapiro, TV producer and writer (“The Blacklist,” “The Practice,” “Life” and “Boston Legal”), and author of “Lawyers, Liars and the Art of Storytelling” and “Deadly Force.”

And Gina Nahai, author of “Cry of the Peacock,” “Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith,” “Caspian Rain” and “The Luminous Heart of Jonah S.”

Eitan Arom, a reporter for The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, served as moderator.

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Attendance at the Greater Boston Chapter’s 2016 Book and Author Luncheon increased by 25 percent over the previous year. Thanks to proceeds from the event and several generous gifts from chapter members, Greater Boston was able to contribute nearly $18,000 to the BNC Scholarship Campaign.

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The Greater Washington Chapter’s annual Bette Aschkenasy Lunch and Learn “Heroes Among Us” event featured three speakers: Patty Walker, retired captain of the Major Crimes Division at the Montgomery County (Maryland) Police; Jim Resnick, retired battalion fire chief at Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service; and Jeanmarie Sentel, retired special agent for Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).

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BNC’s Florida Region held its annual symposium, “America Now and in the Future,” in Delray Beach. Guest speakers for the mid-December event discussed terrorism, women’s health and race relations.

Authoring a Great Event in Arizona

Nearly 900 people attended the 27th annual Book and Author event, organized by BNC’s Phoenix Chapter.

Photo of authors at Phoenix book event.

BNC members Carol Abrams, Book and Author chair (far left); Beth Messer, event committee chair (fourth from right); and Joyce Grant (far right), with authors Pam Jenoff, Maureen Dowd, Christina Baker Kline, Dava Sobel and Caroline Leavitt ’74.