Blending a businesswoman’s craft with an activist’s passion, Gussie Edelman Wyner created life memberships for Hadassah and other nonprofit organizations as a way to raise funds and cement commitment. After her family immigrated to America, Wyner spent her teenage years managing a home-based clothing manufacturing business. She married South African businessman George Wyner in 1890 and lived with him in South Africa for nine years before settling in Boston. There, she became involved in Hadassah and created one of the first Junior Hadassah chapters, inspiring more chapters across America. She helped raise funds for the Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus in Israel, but also served as treasurer of the Women’s Auxiliary of Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, where she created the concept of life memberships in 1927. The funds she raised through life memberships paid for advances including a new maternity ward, a generator, and a surgical lab. As treasurer of the Boston chapter of Hadassah, she again incorporated the life membership concept with great success, inspiring Jewish nonprofits across the country to do the same. Wyner remained treasurer and trustee of Beth Israel until her death.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Gussie Edelman Wyner." (Viewed on June 24, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/wyner-gussie>.