Ms. Helen Diller

Mar 18, 1929 — Jan 09, 2015

Helen was born and raised in San Francisco and was the only daughter of Dora and William Samuels. Her loving brothers Harry and Saul both predeceased her. Helen married Sanford N. Diller in 1951 and started their family. Helen is survived by her husband Sanford in addition to her loving children, Brad Diller, Ron (Manu) Diller, Jackie (Dan) Safier, and her beloved grandchildren: Ben, Danielle, Joseph, Roy, and Yoni Diller and Joshua and Lauren Safier.Helen met Sanford when they were both undergraduates at the University of California, Berkeley. Helen went on to become a community leader and a philanthropist with a primary focus on education, science, and the arts.She served as the Northwest President of the American Friends of Hebrew University and as Chair of the Bay Area Friends of the Weizmann Institute of Science. She received the Scopus Award from Hebrew University, the Visionary Leader Award from the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Fundraising Professionals, among many others.Drawing upon the past and investing in a brighter future, Helen made philanthropy her life's work. In Helen's own words: "It's never too late, too early, or too often to give back and make the world a better place." In her role as President of the Helen Diller Family Foundation, Helen was imaginative, consistent, and extremely generous. She created an international leadership program for Jewish teens that is continuing to expand throughout the world. She also initiated a national award program to recognize Jewish teens for outstanding leadership, volunteerism, and their contributions toward improving the world. Further, she created an award for educators, to recognize excellence in Jewish education.Helen valued the power of education as evidenced by the Helen Diller Family Foundation's support of Jewish Studies at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz; a leadership program for young adults administered by the Wexner Heritage Foundation; the School of Education at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel; the San Francisco Jewish Community Center Pre-School; Brandeis Hillel Day School; and many others.In recent years supporting groundbreaking medical research rose to the top of Helen's "to do" list. In June 2009, UCSF inaugurated the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at Mission Bay specializing in leading edge research to detect, treat, and prevent cancer. Helen was an early catalyst of UCSF's flagship Mission Bay Campus with the addition of Helen Diller Family cancer research building.Helen also valued the way that arts and culture enriched human lives. She led the Foundation in funding the De Young Museum Entrance Courtyard, new galleries in the expanding San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and an annual Israel Antiquities Series at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.She also sought to ensure that children and families in San Francisco benefitted from new, artistic and imaginative playgrounds by creating the Helen Diller Playground at Dolores Park, the Helen Diller Play Area at Julius Kahn Park, and now, the Helen Diller Civic Center Playground, which is in the planning phase. - Source: