Star of Brooklyn: Toby Sanchez
CO-PRESIDENT OF EAST MIDWOOD JEWISH CENTER
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Many people desire changes within their community but only a handful of them actually implement plans in order to see their community prosper, Toby Sanchez is one of those people.
Sanchez has lived in Midwood for the last two years; prior to the move there, she spent 40 years of her life in Flatbush. In the early 1990s, Sanchez was a member of Community Board 14, but her volunteer credentials really stand out when her work outside of the board is highlighted.
Surely a pivotal member of the East Midwood Jewish Center, Sanchez lured in a lot of money for the organization, of which she is co-president and which is approaching its 90th anniversary this year.
Through composing a grant proposal, Sanchez obtained $800,000 to be used towards the center. “I really enjoyed writing it,” said Sanchez. “Even if it is challenging, I did it for free, but I learned a lot from doing it.”
In 1990, she and her now deceased husband Ramon Sanchez established the Soren Sanchez scholarship in memory of her 26-year-old son who died due to a congenital heart condition. After her spouse’s death, Sanchez created the Ramon & Soren Scholarship for Brooklyn College students majoring in political science.
Sanchez has also served as a tour guide at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, a living memorial to the Holocaust, for five years.
CAREER: In addition to being and independent grant writer, Sanchez is also the editor Dorot, the quarterly journal of the Jewish Genealogical Society.
MOTIVATION: Refusing to be passive, witnessing issues that go unsolved is what pushes Sanchez to volunteer. She stated, “Often people see a problem, complain about it and do nothing. That doesn’t solve the problem.”
Sanchez admits that volunteering can be time-consuming and even tedious; the cause is usually what keeps her going. “It can take away a lot of family time,” said Sanchez. “You can get obsessed, it can really go to your head, but it’s best to stay grounded.”
PERSONAL LIFE: Reaching the noteworthy age of 80, Sanchez was married to her husband for 54 years. They had three children and also grandchildren.
Sanchez is also a gardener. In 1993, she and her husband helped found the Campus Road Garden near Brooklyn College. The garden moved from its original location, but still exists, though in smaller form, because Brooklyn College redid its field and needed a portion of the land it utilized.
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