Florence Heller

An important benefactress of Brandeis University, Florence Grunsfeld Heller made her mark as one of the first women to run a general Jewish organization, the Jewish Welfare Board. Heller focused most of her charitable activities in Chicago. In the 1920s she volunteered at the United Jewish Charities in Chicago and from 1923–1941 served as president of the women’s auxiliary of the Jewish Peoples Institute, where she helped new immigrants. During WWII she chaired the management committee of the Central USO Club of Greater Chicago. She also supported medical research, endowing the Florence Heller Isotope Laboratory and the Florence G. Heller Blood Bank at the Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago. But her life’s work was the Jewish Welfare Board, for which she served as vice president from 1948–1964 and president from 1964–1966. It was through this work that she created a research center for the JWB through Brandeis University. She also founded the Florence Heller Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare at Brandeis in 1959, and served as a trustee of the university.


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Date of Birth

Albuquerque, NM
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Florence Heller." (Viewed on May 26, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/heller-florence>.


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