The seeds of giving were planted by Charles and Sarah Hoffberger who emigrated with their eldest child, Abraham, from Eastern Europe to Baltimore in 1882. As a hard-working entrepreneur and merchant, Charles was known for his acts of kindness. He delivered food to impoverished families and extended hospitality and sponsorship to new immigrants like himself. Sarah, while busy helping to run the family businesses and raising children, was known for her swift generosity in giving coal to neighbors in need.
The family’s organized philanthropy began in 1941 with the establishment of the Hoffberger Brothers Fund by Charles and Sarah’s seven surviving children. The Fund’s name was changed to the Hoffberger Foundation in 1963 under the leadership of LeRoy Hoffberger, who was the organization’s president at the time. In 1979, a second philanthropic organization, the Hoffberger Family Fund, was established as a supporting foundation of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.
Today, the Hoffberger Family Philanthropies (HFP) encompasses the family’s philanthropic commitment to primarily serving the needs of the greater Baltimore community through grants from both the Hoffberger Foundation and the Hoffberger Family Fund. The Boards of each organization reflect the family’s dedication to continuing their ancestors’ legacy by their ongoing involvement as members, with each successive and overlapping generation allowing each participant the opportunity to add their own experience and perspective to expand HFP’s impact.
Currently, the Foundation is committed to addressing the ongoing and ever-widening social and racial disparities in greater Baltimore that the pandemic exacerbated by focusing on two new strategic priority areas—workforce development and economic mobility as well as children’s mental health and trauma. This direction—and the implementation of trust-based philanthropic best practices—has been driven by the Board’s desire to be more responsive to community-identified needs.
We have adopted a more intentional learning culture and understand that progress is a long game with outcomes measured incrementally and within an ecosystem that requires collaboration. As the Foundation heads toward its ninth decade of service, we look forward to many more years of community partnership.