Meta Berger’s Profile
Past Chair 2006-2007
Meta (Schwartz) (Mrs. Ronald) Berger, Chair of the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation (LSCRF) is of another generation — from the early 50s, a time when women married, had children and didn’t go to work. “If by chance a woman did work, you could be a school teacher, a secretary or a nurse. We didn’t lead boards or go into business,” recalls Mrs. Berger.
A liberal arts graduate of the University of Miami, she eventually did both by serving as Chair of the LSCRF (2006-2007), as part of a distinguished career as a wife, mother, grandmother and ‘professional volunteer’ with some of Chicago’s most prestigious and valuable organizations.
“My charity work is my vocation and I do not get paid in money but in many other ways. I am a professional volunteer and, on some days, I work at it 4 to 6 hours a day,” she says. Her work with LSCRF began in 1996 when she and her husband Ron co-chaired the Foundation’s tenth Anniversary Gala and they continued as members. She became an executive board member in 1997 and became Vice Chairman of the Board (2003-2005).
“Men as well as women have to find a way, a place, to give back. Philanthropy is not only a woman’s job anymore – it’s something everyone must be doing,” says Mrs. Berger.
Among the many organizations Meta Berger contributed to since becoming a professional volunteer in 1975:
My mother had breast cancer in her late 50s and underwent a radical mastectomy, which is something they do very rarely today. Her mastectomy left her deformed and she was always embarrassed but they did not do reconstruction surgery at that time. In her 80s, she had her other breast removed because of cancer and she survived again. My husband died of cancer – leukemia — in 2004. There isn’t anybody today who has not been touched by cancer.
(Following her husband’s death in 2004, Mrs. Berger set up the Ronald Berger Cancer Foundation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. All donations fund cancer research.)