The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Angelica Berrie

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Angelica Berrie until we are able to commission a full entry.

Angelica Berrie, president of The Russell Berrie Foundation. Photo courtesy of Angelica Berrie.

A lifelong philanthropist, Angelica Berrie has helped transform the world by funding causes ranging from religious tolerance to nanotechnology. Angelica Urra graduated from Assumption College in the Philippines in 1977 and became an entrepreneur, manufacturing and selling Filipino crafts. In 1986 she became an “accidental activist,” staring down tanks in protest of Ferdinand Marcos as a member of the People Power revolution, a movement that led to Marcos’s ouster. In 1989 she met Russell Berrie, who had both a successful toy company and a thriving charity supporting causes as diverse as diabetes care, interfaith understanding, and improving education in New Jersey. The couple married in 1992 and Berrie spent the next decade helping her husband run both his business and his charity. After Russell Berrie died suddenly in 2002, Angelica Berrie served briefly as CEO of Russ Berrie and Co. before selling it to focus on philanthropy. As of 2017 she serves as president of the Russell Berrie Foundation, making significant donations to typhoon relief in the Philippines and using a $26 million matching gift to inspire the Israeli government to invest more in nanotechnology. In 2009 she founded the Angelica Berrie Foundation, which funds causes outside the scope of the Russell Berrie Foundation’s interests, and in 2011 she wrote A Passion for Giving to inspire other would-be philanthropists. Originally of mixed Buddhist and Catholic heritage, Berrie converted to Judaism after years of living and studying as a Jew, and has made interfaith understanding a cornerstone of her work.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Angelica Berrie." (Viewed on June 4, 2023) <>.


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