The Rancho Bernardo Chapter of Brandeis National Committee is revving up instead of taking the summer off now that its members can once again gather for social and educational events.
Also coming back is the chapter’s annual Book and Author Luncheon, which for 2022 has been moved from its traditional March date to this fall. It is a fundraiser that typically attracts more than 100 members and non-members, giving them an opportunity to meet and hear directly from authors throughout Southern California.
Chapter President Linda Simon said the event featuring four yet-to-be-announced authors will be held on Sept. 20 at The Heights Golf Club in Rancho Bernardo, formerly known as Bernardo Heights Country Club.
The Book and Author Luncheon was among the last community events held in March 2020, just days before all the COVID-19 mandated shutdowns began.
While the chapter is known for its financial support of Brandeis University — a private research university founded in 1948 in Waltham, Massachusetts — Simon said the organization also does a lot of philanthropic work locally.
“We deliver food to Interfaith Community Services in Escondido,” she said. “We just gave bags of items for the House of Ukraine, delivering them to El Cajon. There was medical items they asked for, like bandages, disinfectant. Also blankets and suitcases. We had two car loads.”
The chapter also helps the Shelter to Soldier program, which pairs up a rescue dog with a military veteran who could benefit from a dog’s assistance or emotional support.
Simon said the chapter raises its money for these endeavors through its study groups, monthly meetings and the Book and Author Luncheon. The latter is a fundraiser all 45 Brandeis chapters nationwide hold in their communities.
The RB chapter has 17 study groups, with a fee of $14 per group per season. A season is usually September to May, but this year there will be a summer version too, Simon said. The study groups provide social and educational opportunities for participants and members may join as many groups as they wish.
Some examples are to play mahjong, discuss current events and learn more about women who have made a difference.
A new group called Brandeis Explorers will go on field trips this summer to places such as Liberty Station, Old Town, Balboa Park and to visit the antique stores and restaurants along Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach, Simon said. Other trips will be to the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in Encinitas and lunch at Cordiano Winery in Highland Valley.
With its current 50 members (there were over 70 before the pandemic), the Rancho Bernardo chapter is small compared to some of its counterparts across the United States that have up to 800 members. Simon said it is one of two in San Diego County, with the other being San Dieguito.
Despite its size, for many recent years the chapter has exceeded its minimum annual contribution of $6,300 to Brandeis University. When the chapter holds its monthly meetings on the second Tuesday in the Rancho Bernardo-Glassman Recreation Center it includes a nominal entry fee that is earmarked for specific Brandeis needs, such as supporting its library or medical research.
“We do better than they ask for,” Simon said.
Each monthly meeting has a speaker. The July 12 guest will be Judith Downie, a librarian at California State University San Marcos who will talk about women in the San Diego beer industry.
“It is supposed to be a really terrific talk,” Simon said.
The Rancho Bernardo chapter formed around 35 years ago. She said some people have been members for 20 or 25 years. She joined 15 years ago due to a conversation she had with a member while standing in line at the post office.
“We struck up a conversation and she told me about all the good it does,” Simon said.
Simon said the chapter is requiring proof of COVID vaccination from anyone who attends its gatherings. The annual national fee is $60. The chapter does not charge dues, just the $14 fees to participate in its study groups and nominal fees to attend monthly meetings. To learn more, call her at 858-487-8041.