When Chelsea native Jeff Brudnick wanted to give back to his community, he looked no further than just a few blocks away from his Everett Avenue insurance office to Admiral’s Hill and the Chelsea Jewish Foundation (CJF).
The CJF has received a $1 million gift from Jeff and Susan Brudnick to kick off its capital campaign, which will benefit its North Shore campus. In the Brudnick’s honor, the Chelsea Jewish Foundation’s skilled nursing facility in Peabody, formerly known as Aviv Skilled Nursing Facility and Jewish Rehabilitation Center of the North Shore, will be renamed the Jeffrey and Susan Brudnick Center for Living. In December of 2014, Aviv Centers for Living joined the Chelsea Jewish family.
“I was introduced to (CEO) Barry Berman 35 or 40 years ago,” said Brudnick. “We became friends back then and I watched as he took CJF from one old facility on Lafayette Avenue to a campus on the Hill and then the Leonard Florence Center as well. He built that state-of-the-art nursing home that really isn’t a nursing home environment when you go into it…It’s just a wonderful place. My great great grandmother spent her final days at the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home. My mother had her last days at Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home. There’s a friendship I’ve had with Barry and a personal relationship as well.
“I’ve been fortunate to do well and my philosophy is to give back with these gifts,” he continued. “This fit very well because we could make that major gift and know the people it was going to and didn’t have to micromanage it as it was going to people who knew better how to use it than we did.”
Berman said he is very grateful that the Brudnick family chose to make the gift to CJF to get their Peabody campus drive up and moving.
“We are thrilled and extremely grateful to Jeff and Susan Brudnick for this enormously generous gift,” said Chelsea Jewish Foundation CEO Barry Berman. “As long-time residents of the North Shore and leaders within the Jewish community, they understand the importance of high-quality care for seniors in our community. We feel truly blessed to have Susan and Jeff Brudnick as supporters – and friends – of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation.”
The Brudnick family has strong ties to both Chelsea and the North Shore.
While the Brudnicks have lived in Swampscott for 38 years, Jeff still works at his Everett Avenue insurance office and parts of his family go back more than 100 years in Chelsea.
He explained that, having never attended college, he took over his father’s small insurance company in Chelsea, Louis Brudnick and Sons, at the age of 22.
From there, he grew the company in a very unique way that made him quite successful.
“There were three people and myself and I built that company into the largest operator in the area,” he said. “Then, I did something a little different. I built on with partner insurance agencies in Massachusetts and other states. Over time, I have sold those companies to national operators and now I am back in Chelsea. In 40 years, really, I never left Chelsea even though everyone thought I did. I did a lot of traveling and had other offices, but I actually never left the office here.”
Now, Brudnick and his wife enjoy philanthropy, having made another major gift five years ago to the North Shore Medical Center to found the Brudnick Center for Women’s Health. With the gift to CJF, Brudnick said he hopes it can be the jumpstart to bring in more donors.
“This campaign can take the facility in Peabody to the next level,” he said. “They are going to take it to new highs. This will kick off the campaign and hopefully others will join in.”