A Lasting Legacy: Frances Bunzl Family Trust Gifts $5.6M to  Atlanta Jewish Community

January 28, 2021

A Lasting Legacy: Frances Bunzl Family Trust Gifts $5.6M to  Atlanta Jewish Community 

ATLANTA (January 28, 2021) – In 1939, shortly after Kristallnacht, 19-year-old Frances Bertha Hamburger escaped Germany and eventually made it to Atlanta. The Jewish community here helped her connect with other European Jewish immigrants. A few years later, she met Walter Bunzl; three months later they were married. The rest, as they say, is history.

In the past few weeks, the Frances Bunzl Family Trust disbursed the bulk of the approximately $5.6M gift in equal shares to Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta (Federation) and Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) Atlanta. It is the largest endowed gift in both Federation and JF&CS’s history.

“Federation and JF&CS were delighted to learn of this most generous gift from Frances’ estate and so grateful to Suzy Wilner and her daughter, Anna Wilner for their creativity and inspiration to honor their mother and grandmother’s legacy,” said Eric Robbins, President and CEO of Federation.

Frances and Walter Bunzl, along with their two children Suzy and Richard (of blessed memory), have been influential philanthropists in Atlanta for decades, giving generously to numerous Jewish and general community groups including Federation, JF&CS, the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Temple Sinai and Impact Israel (formerly known as Yemin Orde) to name a few.

“Frances was a visionary and a pioneer in communal service. Her personal experience as a lay leader inspired her desire to make a lasting imprint on our community,” noted Beth A. Warner, Federation’s Chief Philanthropy Officer. “This gift was many years in the making. Federation professionals and communal leaders met with Frances to discuss community priorities and goals to help her create a legacy that reflected her life-long philanthropic passions,” explained Warner. At Federation, the endowed funds will be directed for three initiatives. This includes funding the lead fundraising professional for the organization – the Frances Bunzl Chief Philanthropy Officer - the first time a Federation position has been endowed; the creation of the Frances and Walter Bunzl Perpetual Annual Campaign Endowment (PACE), which will ensure a major gift to Federation’s annual community campaign in perpetuity; and funding the Frances Bunzl NextGen initiative to support Jewish journeys for the next generation of Jewish community leaders. “It is also our hope that this endowment will inspire others to consider gifts of this magnitude and impact,” said Warner.

Generosity has always been a core value for the Bunzl family.

“Throughout her life, my mother spoke of growing up in a family (both in Germany and here in Atlanta) that was focused on helping others,” said Suzy Wilner. “We believe her gifts to Federation and JF&CS will continue that legacy.”

Jeff Alperin, Chair of the JF&CS Board comments, “This gift increases the JF&CS Foundation by 50%. This will have a direct impact on the agency’s ability to serve the needs of the Atlanta community. We are honored to receive this gift and will make sure these dollars are used to deliver the greatest impact.”

At JF&CS, the generosity of Frances Bunzl will live on in perpetuity through its continued support of the nonsectarian agency’s operations. In honor of this generous gift, JF&CS will name its Clinical Service practice, “The Frances Bunzl Clinical Services”. This service area provides mental health support for people of all ages and from all walks of life, offering both individual and group therapies across a broad spectrum of issues. “Naming this practice for the late Frances Bunzl honors the tremendous impact her gift will have on the health and well-being of our community”, states Chief Development Officer, Amanda La Kier.

JF&CS CEO, Terri Bonoff says, “The challenges of the past year underscore the importance of planning for the unknown and ensuring vibrant Jewish life for generations to come. Choosing to spotlight the importance of mental health support by naming this service area in Frances Bunzl’s honor reflects the deep commitment JF&CS has to providing best-in-class support for the health and well-being of this community. Legacy gifts such as this one support Jewish Atlanta long into the future.”

“This gift is indicative of the generosity we hope to inspire as part of our LIFE & LEGACY initiative, in which participating organizations embark on a legacy building program benefiting the entire Jewish community,” said Eric Robbins.

In the first two years of this four-year program, more than 270 local donors have made legacy commitments which will support Atlanta’s Jewish community with more than $23.3 million in future gifts. Worldwide, the LIFE & LEGACY program has motivated more than 17,000 donors in 63 communities across North America to commit more than a billion dollars in current as well as after-lifetime assets to the Jewish organizations which shaped their lives. For those interested in creating a legacy for the Jewish community, contact the Atlanta Jewish Foundation at foundation@jewishatlanta.org or www.atlantajewishfoundation.org.

About Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta

Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta cares for, connects, and strengthens the Jewish community throughout greater Atlanta, Israel and the world. Federation supports life-changing Jewish education and immersive experiences to help thousands of young people connect Jewishly. From education, senior services and inclusion support, to financial, health and well-being services, Federation creates a thriving, caring and connected 21st Century Jewish Atlanta where every Jew and their loved ones can access warm Jewish community, timeless Jewish wisdom, global Jewish peoplehood and Jewish ways to do good in the world.

About Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta

Established in 1891, Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) offers programs and resources to help the Atlanta community. Guided by Jewish values, JF&CS serves thousands of individuals annually regardless of age, race, religion, national origin or ability to pay. We offer counseling and therapy for individuals, families and groups, older adult services, careers and support services, intellectual and developmental disabilities services, as well as free dental services at the Ben Massell Dental Clinic. For more information, please call 770.677.9300 or visit JFCSatl.org.