Chara Schreyer: A Gift with Heart and History
Chara Schreyer’s gift to UCSF comes with a lot of heart and a long history. Schreyer’s daughter, Justine, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 4. The family sought treatment at UCSF and has been an important part of the university ever since.
“I’ve always been an aesthetic person,” says Schreyer, who began collecting art in her 20s after studying art history at UC Berkeley. According to ArtNews, she owns “one of the top 10 private collections of modern and contemporary art in the world.”
Among the works in her collection is “Am Ort schwebende Feinde gilt es zu befestigen” (“Floating Enemies Must Be Pinned Down”), a striking 1984 mixed-media composition by German artist Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997). Schreyer recently included in her estate plan a bequest to UCSF consisting of the proceeds from the sale of the painting. The proceeds will be used to permanently endow the Chara Schreyer Endowed Scholarship Fund in Memory of Martha Leuenberger at the UCSF School of Nursing.
Schreyer says she was always determined to keep Justine as healthy as possible, and that meant constant vigilance. When her second daughter, Natalie, was born, Schreyer hired Martha Leuenberger, a Swiss-German baby nurse who had a stellar reputation in the Bay Area.
“I hired her to move in with us for a few weeks, and she stayed with our family the rest of her life,” Schreyer says. When Leuenberger passed away in 2013, she left her estate to Schreyer, who used the funds to buy the Kippenberger work in a nod to their shared German lineage.
Schreyer is also connected to UCSF through the several leadership positions she has held, including membership on the UCSF Foundation Board of Overseers. The endowed scholarship that carries her name and the name of her family’s nurse will support exemplary advanced practice nursing students, with a preference for those who have financial need and intend to care for infants and children, just as Leuenberger lovingly did for Schreyer’s family.
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