Listening to the stories of the people, families and communities we partner with has always been an essential part of our work and a Graustein family value. Building upon our long tradition of supporting and inspiring the children of our communities, the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund has shifted its initial focus from early childhood toward a new vision of equity in education. Moving toward the new mission took many years and lots of hard work.
The Graustein family immigrated to Boston from Prussia in 1874. Adolph was only 12 but understood the value of learning. A decade later, Adolph started his own family. Determined that his children should make the most of the freedom and opportunities of this country, he encouraged all six to pursue education as a way of creating their own opportunities. Each Graustein child - Archibald, William, Jeannette, Alice, Edward, and Winifred - pursued education with vigor and applied the skills and insights they acquired to innovate, lead or establish new directions.
Archibald Graustein, the eldest child and father of trustee Bill Graustein, became a very successful businessman. At an age when many people are resting on past accomplishments, Archibald Graustein began a new career bringing new purpose and a new direction to his work. He created the Memorial Fund in 1946 to honor the memory of his brother William Caspar Graustein who died tragically in an automobile accident one year earlier.
Archibald believed that academic accomplishment could benefit both individuals and society as a whole. The Memorial Fund was established to support the kind of institutions that made it possible for this immigrant family to thrive within the United States.
Archibald’s widow, Hallie Hubbard Graustein, along with her son, decided that assets left to her in trust at her husband’s death should go to the Memorial Fund when she passed away. Mrs. Graustein died in 1993 leaving a significant amount to the Memorial Fund. As a result of this gift, the Memorial Fund was able to focus its philanthropy more purposefully on supporting education. That same year, the Trustees established the organization’s first mission: To improve the effectiveness of education in fostering both personal development and leadership. That mission reflected the enduring values that the Memorial Fund sought to promote as a memorial to its namesake and to honor the experiences and achievements of an immigrant family of the nineteenth century.