Millie Greenman wanted to make a difference. So she followed her mother’s example.
In her retirement years, Greenman volunteered with a like-minded group of Southern California women and men who support City of Hope. Meeting for brunches and holding annual charity dinners, she and her friends in the Esperanza Chapter found ways to fit fundraising into their daily life — and their social life.
Millie Greenman, left, with Michael A. Friedman, M.D., president and chief executive officer of City of Hope (Photo by AmyCantrell.com)
The auxiliary chapter is one of hundreds of groups across the country dedicated to raising funds and awareness for City of Hope, and Greenman symbolizes the enduring commitment of volunteers who make up their ranks.
“It is second nature for me to help City of Hope,” she said in 2008.
Her dedication culminated in one final — and important — gift after her death last fall at age 92.
Friends remember Greenman with her daily crossword always close at hand — intelligent, independent and deeply immersed in current events. They also recall how much she cared about helping others.
“She worked very hard for City of Hope,” said Delsie Zuzak, a neighbor at the Leisure World retirement community in Laguna Woods, Calif. “She thought it was the best charity when it comes to helping people out.”
Greenman’s devotion budded from the influence of her mother. She belonged to one of City of Hope’s first chapters, Pioneer Chapter No. 3.
The roots of the chapter movement are entwined with City of Hope’s birth in 1913. This nationwide grassroots network of volunteers gathered donations to help create the medical center — a tuberculosis sanatorium at first.
City of Hope has changed a lot in the century since. With tuberculosis vanquished, the institution turned to fighting other life-threatening diseases: cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS, among others. Loyal chapters, though, continue to give.
Volunteers raise millions of dollars yearly through events like galas and fashion shows, as well as their own gifts. Members become both friends and fundraisers.
So it was with Greenman, a member of the Esperanza Chapter for more than 15 years. Her cohorts honored her as their “Woman of the Year” in 2005.
“Millie will long be remembered as the smiling, friendly and helpful ‘little lady with the City of Hope cap on her head.’ She will be missed by all,” said Marilyn Goldman, chapter president.
Greenman also committed her own resources. She created several substantial charitable gift annuities during her lifetime and arranged to leave the largest part of her estate to the organization.
Each year, she would renew her fervor for City of Hope with a visit to tour the campus. In between, she enjoyed her retirement years while living modestly to save as much as she could for City of Hope’s fight against disease.
The result? A bequest of more than $2 million.
That’s just as Greenman designed it, according to her friends.
“She loved life and loved being able to help give more life to other people,” Zuzak said. “Millie gave with all her heart.”
To learn more about bequests and other long-term giving options, visit City of Hope’s planned giving page.