“I’ve always been an aesthetic person,” says Chara Schreyer, who began collecting art in her 20s after studying art history at UC Berkeley. According to ArtNews, Schreyer owns “one of the top-ten private collections of modern and contemporary art in the world.”
Among 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) shown in the above photo. Schreyer recently included in her estate plan a bequest to UCSF consisting of the proceeds from the sale of the painting. They will be used to permanently endow the Chara Schreyer Endowed Scholarship Fund in Memory of Martha Leuenberger at the UCSF School of Nursing.
It’s a gift that comes with a lot of heart and a lot of history. Schreyer’s daughter Justine was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 4. The family sought treatment at UCSF and has been connected with the university ever since. Schreyer has held several leadership positions at UCSF, including membership on the UCSF Foundation Board of Overseers. Through her Kadima Foundation she has also funded the Justine Kathryn Schreyer Diabetes Clinical Center at UCSF and the Justine K. Schreyer Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research, currently held by Michael German, MD.
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 needed extra help and learned of 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.
The endowed scholarship that carries both their names will support exemplary advanced practice nursing students, with a preference for those with established financial need who intend to care for infants and children—just as Leuenberger lovingly did for Schreyer’s family.
“This gift will ensure that our advanced practice nurses have the means and the opportunity to excel in their work with the youngest patients,” said Dean David Vlahov, BSN, PhD, RN, former School of Nursing dean. “It’s a splendid tribute to Ms. Leuenberger and furthers Ms. Schreyer’s unwavering, decades-long commitment to UCSF.”
With her daughters now grown and thriving, Schreyer says she hopes future scholarship recipients will have careers as fulfilling to them as Leuenberger’s was to her. “If you love babies and children,” she says, “there’s nothing more wonderful than caring for them.”
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