Donor Profile: Ruth Finkelstein
Throughout her 88 years, Ruth Finkelstein has traveled to and lived in many places around the world. Born in a little village of 1,000 people in Southern Ontario, Canada, she came to the United States at 17 to attend Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind., where she majored in social work. She’s lived in New York, Germany, France, and various locations in Arizona, Nevada, and California.
Ruth currently resides in San Mateo, Calif., where she’s lived for around 35 years. “I’ve lived here longer than any other place,” she laughs. Currently a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Redwood City, California, Ruth is very active in her church life as well as their capital campaign to fund new ministry initiatives.
Her faith and the church have been a constant in her life. “I was born into and raised in a very devout Christian family and have been close to the church all my life,” she says. “Even when I was moving from job to job and place to place, the church has always been my stability, my anchor.”
Another constant in Ruth’s life has been her faithful support of We Raise Foundation. She first learned about it as Wheat Ridge Ministries, when their Christmas Seals were an annual tradition in her household.
“We always received the Christmas Seals and as I child I knew that the donations made – to Wheat Ridge Foundation at that time – were going to the sanitarium in Colorado to help people heal from tuberculosis,” Ruth says. She reconnected with Wheat Ridge after graduating from college, when she took a job as a parish worker in a congregation in New York City.
“The congregation would hold ‘Wheat Ridge Sunday’ fundraisers, and I remember feeling that this was a worthwhile ministry to support.”
Ruth believed in what Wheat Ridge stood for at that time, and she continued to support the organization as it shifted from its primary mission to heal people from tuberculosis into a mission of providing the start-up funding for new, innovative, and life-changing ministries.
“So often good ideas get lost because there’s no way to get them started or show how valuable they are,” she says. “Support is easier to get once you’ve sort of proven yourself as being a worthwhile cause, and I see We Raise helping many organizations cross that barrier.”
Ruth continues to believe in the mission of We Raise Foundation today and appreciates its focus on addressing the issues at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality. She’s also very excited to see We Raise supporting programs in California [Harbor House Ministries in Oakland and Restore Merced in Merced].
“Having come to the West coast many years ago, I realized that we’re pretty far from the heart of Lutheranism—we kind of feel like we’re on the fringes sometimes,” she admits. “But with this program here I’m encouraged that We Raise has seen the value of coming to the West Coast.”
We Raise is grateful for the financial and prayerful support of longtime donors like Ruth Finkelstein. Her commitment to our mission over the years is both inspiring and encouraging.