August 3, 2020

Susan Halpern, Vice President of Development and Communications

Susan Halpern

Born in Springfield, Susan was raised in Longmeadow along with her 3 siblings: Jim, Wendy and Billy. She graduated from Longmeadow High School, the University of Vermont, and Western New England School of Law.

Susan practiced law for 10 years, first at the offices of Cohen Rosenthal and then at Cooley Shrair. In 1985, she married Richard and they soon welcomed 2 daughters: Jessica in 1989 and Lauren in 1991. After Lauren’s birth, Susan decided to become a stay at home mom for several years. Then, in 1995, she was hired by JGS CEO Howard Braverman to manage The Regeneration Capital Campaign. Under Susan’s leadership, the Campaign raised $7.5 million for renovating the JNH into more home-like neighborhoods as well as building Ruth’s House Assisted Living Facility. Throughout her tenure here, she has overseen other major gift campaigns including JGSYes and Project Transformation.

Susan has held many leadership positions at JGS: Director of Community Relations, Director of Development, Vice President of Philanthropy, and more recently Vice President of Development and Communications.

When asked about her tenure of over 25 years, Susan reflected, “It has been so rewarding to work here. To me it’s personal – I have a strong legacy here. My great grandparents, Hannah and George Kimball, were amongst the founders of the Jewish Nursing Home back in 1912. My grandparents Anna and Bill Kimball were longtime supporters. My father Jerry was a past president of the JNH Board of Directors and my husband Richard has served as a member of the Board since before I began working here.”

“Most important, I feel like I am making a difference,” continued Susan. “My work has helped provide the financial resources that have impacted the quality of life of so many elders. I have enjoyed such rich and rewarding relationships with many of our staff over the years, as well as with so many residents. I feel I became part of their lives and I was able to make a true difference in their lives.”

“JGS Lifecare is blessed with tremendous community support. Through fundraising and friend raising we have been able to accomplish some great things here. We were one of the first organizations to establish Assisted Living back in 1998, and to think in terms of de-institutionalizing our nursing home environment by creating residential neighborhoods. Project Transformation in 2015 was a natural extension of this effort to de-institutionalize, introducing the small house model of care known as the Green House model, where people can live in true homes with a consistent team of caregivers, resulting in better quality of life and quality of care.”

Susan credits many of her accomplishments to the wonderful colleagues and volunteers she has been able to work with over the years. “I have had the support of some strong and talented board volunteers to work with, including many Board and Campaign Committee Chairs. And our community volunteers are phenomenal, many have become close friends. People truly care about providing for our elders and they realize what a blessing it is to have our services right here in their own community.”

In her spare time, Susan loves to explore different art forms: photography, drawing, welding, sculpture, and glass-blowing. She enjoys working out and riding her bike. She loves spending time with her family including her mom and taking weekends away together. Susan and Richard recently celebrated the marriage of their daughter Lauren to Kyle Smith. The family has enjoyed some special time these last few months during Covid-19, hunkering down together.

We celebrate Susan’s 25 years of extraordinary service to this organization and her choosing to build on her family’s long and devoted commitment to JGS and its mission of caring for the elders in our community. She is a talented professional with an abundance of kindness, an eye for detail and an appreciation of the aesthetics of the environment. She is a joy to work with and a trusted friend to many, and she takes time to get to know and to deepen her bonds with our residents. We wish her and her dear family many years of good health and much success in her many endeavors, personal and professional.