When asked to describe the Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School (HMJDS), one word immediately came to mind for Lynne Redleaf: community.
“There are many reasons why I chose to send my kids to HMJDS,” Lynne said, “but the sense of community I felt at the school was top on the list.”
Lynne found HMJDS a welcoming place that provided her children, Jared and Ellie, with the individual attention they needed to thrive. Married to Andrew Redleaf since 2010, the couple has been steadfast supporters of the day school.
The Redleafs will be honored with the Ner Tamid Award — given to those who show ongoing leadership and commitment to HMJDS — at this year’s Annual Benefit, Feb. 1 at Beth El Synagogue.
The American Jewish World is a media sponsor of the event.
The Annual Benefit is HMJDS’ largest fundraising event of the year, raising money that supports 300 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Co-chaired by Lisa Villalta and Lauren Weiser, the event will include casino games by Las Vegas Tonight, heavy hors d’oeuvres and desserts catered by Spirit of Asia, and a live auction (items will include a diamond pendant necklace from Continental Diamond, and a luxury travel package donated by Wendy and Colin Smith and Exclusive Resorts).
Wanting to ensure that HMJDS could accommodate the learning styles of all children, the Redleafs have generously supported HMJDS’ Center for Individual Achievement. Through the center, students with a wide variety of learning styles and needs receive the assistance they require to succeed at school — through both additional support and personalized enrichment opportunities.
“I’ve seen the difference their generosity has made,” said Wendy Lovell-Smith, an HMJDS parent and friend of the Redleafs. “Because of Lynne and Andy, our school has more resources to better meet students’ individual needs.”
Where to donate their money is a decision Lynne and Andrew, the founder and CEO of Whitebox Advisors, make together.
“We take into consideration our priorities, our belief in the mission and the efficiency of the organization,” Andrew said.
Dave Gutzke, senior vice president at U.S. Bank, met the Redleafs a few years ago when they came to him with a financial need.
“They are different from many individuals who simply write checks,” he said. “They also become actively engaged and engrained in organizations.”
Lovell-Smith agrees, saying that she and Lynne got to know each other from serving on the same boards and committees of various organizations. For both Gutzke and Lovell-Smith, time spent with the Redleafs quickly grew into friendship.
“I know that Lynne becomes friends with people she volunteers with, which isn’t surprising to me,” said Lovell-Smith. “Both she and Andy are such kind, thoughtful and caring people.”
The Redleafs are huge advocates for causes that focus on at-risk and special needs kids, and they give their time and money to places such as the PACER Center, JCC KidsFit, Parent Child Home Program through Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis (JFCS), and the Family Defense Center. Among the other organizations they support include the Washburn Center for Children, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.
The Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School’s Annual Benefit will take place 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1 at Beth El Synagogue, 5225 Barry St. W., St. Louis Park. For information and to register, visit: www.hmjds.org or call 952-381-3500. This year’s online auction will take place Jan. 20–Feb. 1; visit: biddingforgood.com/hmjdsbenefit. For information, contact Sue Freeman at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School
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