When Marlene Scharr’s youngest child was born with Down Syndrome, she thought about starting a group home for families who have members with intellectual challenges to celebrate Jewish traditions together. This initial vision inspired a gift in 1976 to JCF to establish the Jewish Association for Community Living (JCL) group homes in the Greater Hartford Jewish community.
Over the years, Marlene and her family established three endowment funds: the Marlene and Jerome Scharr Family Fund (donor advised), the Elizabeth Ina Scharr Fund (designated) and the Goldie Issner and S. Leonard Ginsberg Fund (community action). The Scharrs have also granted funds to human service agencies including HARC, JCL and Camp Horizons. “These are organizations that people don’t generally give to, yet they are very important community organizations that need our support,” says Marlene.