Sharing Blessings: The Baran Spiwak Family
Sheila Baran Spiwak
The Foundation really honors what was important to our parents,” Sheila says. “I like to think they’re smiling somewhere.
Philanthropy is second nature to the entire Baran Spiwak family. For decades, Sheila Baran Spiwak, her husband, Alan Spiwak, and her sisters, Evelyn and Gloria Baran, have advanced their family’s commitment to giving by leveraging their endowment at The Foundation to realize their vision of a more just and equitable world. Through The Foundation, the Baran Endowment pursues initiatives that strengthen the fabric of communities stretching across Los Angeles, Israel, and Eastern Europe.
Each year, they come together to distribute earnings from charitable funds created by Sheila’s parents, Ben and Sarah Baran, and uncle, Milton Baran, all of blessed memory. Today they are joined in their efforts by the next generation of the Baran Spiwak family: Shela and Alan’s son, Aaron, and daughter, Sarah Gelbart, along with Aaron’s wife, Alissa, and Sarah’s husband, Josh.
The family’s collaborative approach to charitable giving has its roots in mutual dedication to upholding their shared values. “My sisters and I were raised with the idea of doing good and realizing that there but for the grace of God go we,” Sheila says. We live a blessed life because of the diligence and hard work of many people who came before us, so it’s incumbent upon us to share those blessings with others.”
The scope of their giving is vast, reflecting a wide range of interests and causes, both within and outside the Jewish world. This year, funds from the Baran Endowment supported organizations working to promote mental health and wellness, help women and their families face breast and ovarian cancer, enable those without employment to find jobs, alleviate food insecurity, and further Jewish education.
For Sheila, Alan, Gloria, and Evelyn, their strong partnership with The Foundation has been a perfect way to ensure their parents’ and uncle’s legacy. “The Foundation really honors what was important to our parents,” Sheila says. “I like to think they’re smiling somewhere.”