Werner and Ellen Lange: Permanent Legacy Fund
Ellen and Werner Lange began life modestly, raised in middle class families in Germany before meeting in the U.S. and marrying in 1941. Having both escaped Nazi Germany in the 1930s, they worked hard to rebuild their lives in America, settling in Los Angeles after World War II and opening a small optical instrument business. Their business prospered and they were quietly philanthropic throughout their lives. After Ellen's death in 1994, Werner finalized plans-a process they had initiated together-to leave the bulk of their substantial estate to The Foundation to establish a permanent legacy in their name, after setting aside modest benefactions for family members. Upon Werner's passing in 2003, the Werner and Ellen Lange Endowment Fund became a reality and is expected to distribute more than half a million dollars each year to support The Foundation's annual grants program. Leveraging grants from this gift will have a profound impact over time.
"My Uncle Werner and Aunt Ellen felt strongly about sustaining Jewish life, and they both had an intense desire to give back to the Jewish community. They never asked whether they would support Jewish causes. The only question was how to go about achieving their goal. Similar to the way they ran their business, when it came to estate planning, they methodically explored all their options. They were looking for an organization that shared their values, one that they could trust completely to carry out their vision. In the end, they chose The Foundation.
Over a number of years, Ellen and Werner met personally with Foundation staff and felt confident in The Foundation's ability to make sound judgments about the charitable programs and projects that would have the greatest impact at any given time, both in Los Angeles and in Israel. That confidence gave Werner tremendous peace at the end of his life and reaffirmed his decision to create a permanent legacy through this endowment fund at The Foundation."
Jane Levy Drucker, Ph.D., niece of Werner and Ellen Lange