Florence Elaine Green of Villanova, a philanthropist whose efforts to assure comfortable and secure homes for the less fortunate of the Jewish community met with landmark results, died Nov. 7 at age 88.
She and her husband of 66 years announced in 2010 that their eponymous Daniel B. and Florence E. Green Family Foundation was joining forces with Firstrust Bank to issue a $3 million grant to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia in support of Federation Housing, Inc.’s mission to make housing available for seniors who otherwise would not be able to afford it.
That gift marked the largest ever in the housing agency’s history.
With the grant in place, the bank and the Federation joined forces with Federation Housing to construct the Samuel A. Green House in Elkins Park.
The $20 million apartment complex, spanning three stories, opened in October 2011.
“We are a third-generation, family-owned bank, and the roots of our company are throughout this region,” explained Firstrust CEO and vice chairman Richard J. Green, grandson of the complex’s namesake, at the time of the announcement.
Indeed, his grandfather “made his dream a reality when he started Firstrust more than 75 years ago, and it is an honor to name the facility after him,” Richard said.
Since its opening, the complex and all it affords its residents have only burnished the reputation of those who endowed it.
“She was a remarkable, incredibly generous woman of not just her time and wealth” but of her heart, too, recalled Eric Naftulin, executive director/chief executive officer of Federation Housing.
“She had always felt it was important to allow the less fortunate to have opportunities for a better life.”
Federation CEO Ira M. Schwartz described Florence Green as “a true woman of valor.” He added that “Federation Housing, Inc. exists, in large part, to the generosity, leadership and vision of Florence and her husband, Daniel.”
“The older adults who now call the Samuel A. Green House home are all recipients of this extraordinary family’s philanthropy.”
Schwartz said that Federation is proud of its support of this and other Federation Housing, Inc. projects and is grateful for the leadership of Florence and Daniel’s son, Richard, who serves on both Federation’s and Federation Housing, Inc.’s board of directors.
Richard called his mother’s involvement and advocacy for low-income housing an extension of the family legacy. “As time went on, her interest in the needs of the elderly, of the Jewish less fortunate, was always on her mind.”
Those needs and concerns “touched her,” he added.
His mother — long active in Hadassah, having served as president of the Delaware County Chapter and as a founder of a number of Hadassah groups in Philadelphia — left her own impression on those she encountered — especially on the golf course, where she was an eight-time champion at the Green Valley Country Club.
“People remember her smile,” he said.
“When you left her” presence, you felt better as a person having experienced her warmth and integrity “than when you came in,” he said.
In addition to her son Richard, she is survived by sons Arlin and Benjamin; and 10 grandchildren.
The family requests that contributions in her memory be made to Hadassah or to Federation Housing, 8900 Roosevelt Blvd., Suite #1, Philadelphia, Pa. 19115, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.