HomeMay 2010Spirit, Strength, Tzedakah

Spirit, Strength, Tzedakah

On Sunday May 16 at 5:30 p.m., the Merage Jewish Community Center will honor Gary Brahm, Irving Burg, and Milt Chasin, of blessed memory, at its annual Celebration Ball.  These “Men of Distinction” have dreamed big and worked hard to assure a bright future for the JCC and the Orange County Jewish community.  Proceeds from the Celebration Ball will benefit the JCC scholarship fund for preschool, summer camps, and after-school programs.  This year’s ball chairs are Adrienne Matros and Brian Stern.

Committed to promoting the values of education and community service, Gary Brahm leads by example. He serves as chancellor of Brandman University, overseeing overall operations and managing 2,262 faculty and staff, with an annual budget of approximately $80 million.  Prior to his present position, Gary was the executive vice president for finance and administration and chief operating officer of Chapman University for more than 13 years.

Gary was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from California State University Northridge, where he met his wife of 32 years, Hildee. Gary received his master’s in business administration from the University of Southern California.  Hildee earned her law degree and is currently a Supervisory Attorney in the US Department of Health and Human Services. For the past 16 year Gary and Hildee have made their home in Irvine, where they raised their daughter, Annee, and son, Ben.

Gary served as a member of numerous Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) visiting teams and the WASC Interim Review Committee. Prior to joining Chapman University in 1994, he was vice president of finance and chief financial officer at National University.  Gary Brahm has served as a director and officer at numerous non-profit and public organizations including Chairman of the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County, the Samueli Jewish Campus Advisory Committee, the JCC Board of Directors and the Board of Directors of Remedy Temp, Inc.

Irving Burg has been involved in the Jewish community since the sixties, serving as board chairman of the Pasadena Jewish Temple and campaign chair for the San Gabriel Valley Jewish Federatrion. Irv and Ellie continue to be an integral part of the growth of many Jewish Orange County organizations since moving here in 1971.

After graduating from the University of Illinois Institute of Technology, Irv served as an aerial photographic officer in World War II. In the sixties, he was involved in development in Hesperia, Lake Havasu City, and San Luis Rey Downs. Most recently, Irv was co-owner of Chuck E. Cheese in Lake Forest. A former minor league baseball player with the Cincinnati farm system, Irv is an avid sports fan and is passionate about golf.

Irv and Ellie are actively involved in Orange County philanthropy. They have supported the Performing Arts Center, Opera Pacific, United Way, and the Mental Health Advisory Board of Orange County. Irv was a member of the Orange County Jewish Federation board and a former president of the Community Foundation, where he currently serves on the board of directors. Irv chaired the major gifts campaign for Heritage Pointe, and Irv and Ellie are Diamond Donors. The Burgs also chaired the campaign to create the Teller Family Chair of Jewish History at the University of California Irvine.  They are active members of Temple Bat Yahm and the Chancellors Club at UCI.   Irv and Ellie are generous donors and enthusiastic supporters of the JCC.

Milt Chasin, of blessed memory, used to say, “We have been very fortunate, and we always felt it was important to give back.” Milt and Doris Chasin have enhanced the lives of countless individuals and families through their devotion to hands-on philanthropy.  After receiving his degree in accounting from New York University and moving to the West Coast as a newlywed, Milt worked for 10 years as an accountant for the State of California.  Wanting to go into business for himself, Milt took over a small company in financial difficulty and turned it into the largest sheet metal company in Southern California. Later, he and some partners also founded Summit Sheet Metal. When Milt retired, he continued to share both his business acumen and philanthropy with the community.

Milt and Doris provided scholarships to Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu and UCLA’s Honors Collegium. In memory of Milt’s aunt, Eva Lieberson Rosen, they supported nursing scholarships at Hadassah Hospital in Israel. Their generosity also helped to establish an arts center building in the Westside Education Center of Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

Milt was a tireless community leader, volunteer, and generous benefactor of Orange County’s Jewish community, including Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot and Jewish Federation, where he and Doris created the Chasin Family Micro-Enterprise Loan Program. Strong supporters of the JCC, Milt and Doris established both the Chasin Aquatics Center and the Doris and Milt Chasin Cultural Arts Endowment. At the JCC, Milt happily shared his business expertise as a board member and volunteer. Milt Chasin left us a legacy of leadership to involve others in building a flourishing Jewish community.

To register for the Celebration Ball online, go to http://www.jccoc.org/special-events/celebration-ball/.


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