Interviewed by Susie Pappas
May 9, 2019
Max M. Fisher Federation Building
This interview begins with a discussion of Nancy’s early life, including her schooling and the beginning of her career in social work and nursing. She also discusses her family life, her religious upbringing and her parents’ charitable work.
She continues with her first involvement at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit on Super Sunday. Upon the urging of Belle Kukes, Nancy became involved with Lion of Judah. Her initial area of interest was at-risk populations.
Next, Nancy speaks about her work with Women’s Philanthropy and those that mentored her. She talks about some of the projects in which she was involved and positions she held within the department. She mentions being Campaign Chair and overcoming a fear of speaking in public. She also speaks of some staff members she worked with.
This discussion continues in the area of fundraising and Nancy’s opinion about the importance of a woman’s gift. The interview concludes with her hopes for the future of Women’s Philanthropy and her role in Federation’s general campaign.
Nancy Grosfeld was born in Detroit to Sylvia and Sam Babcock. She received her B.A. from Michigan State University in 1965 with a major in Social Work and went on to get her degree in nursing. After graduating college, she worked at Fairlawn Center, a residential psychiatric facility for emotionally challenged children and adolescents.
A past president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, Ms. Grosfeld has a long and distinguished record of service to her community. Her leadership roles have included: campaign co-chair of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, president of the Women’s Department of the Jewish Federation, president of Michigan Humane Society, vice-president of JARC, board member of the Detroit United Jewish Foundation and the Women’s Council of Cranbrook/Kingswood Schools, and an advisory board member of Hospice of Michigan. She has also chaired numerous fundraisers and served on committees at the MHS, JARC, and the JFMD and is a trustee of the Detroit Jewish Women’s Foundation.
Ms. Grosfeld is married to James, and they reside in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Together they have been a driving force of Federation’s Annual Campaign, underwriting the Challenge Fund for the Campaign in 1999. In 2001, the Grosfeld’s established the Grosfeld Leadership Program through their gift to the Millennium Campaign for Detroit’s Jewish Future. In 2004, they established the Nancy and James Grosfeld Social Impact Fund to address the community’s most critical social service needs.
Credit as: Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives. Nancy Grosfeld Oral History Interview, May 9, 2019