The Shapiro family has enduring, close ties to Beth Israel Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), created from more than four decades of friendship and generosity. As President of the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation, their youngest daughter Linda Waintrup is focused on carrying forward her parents’ commitment to the medical center—and continuing their remarkable legacy. Over the years, the family has made a tremendous impact on clinical care, campus transformation, education, and research. The foundation recently gave $5 million to support the Klarman Building; in recognition, the facility’s tenth floor is named for the family. “The hospital was a very important place to my parents, and this gift is a reflection of their devotion,” says Linda, who was born at Beth Israel Hospital.
Linda’s father, the late Carl J. Shapiro, had a deep appreciation for the hospital’s mission to provide equitable care. “My father always felt committed to Beth Israel because of its dedication to the immigrant and Jewish population in the city,” says Linda. “Back then, Jewish people knew that if you couldn’t afford quality medical care, or if you couldn’t speak English, you still got the best care at Bl. If you were a Jewish doctor, you had a place to practice.” These values were fundamental to her father. As a young adult, due to circumstances surrounding the Depression, Carl was not able to finish his time at Boston University. He worked with his father in the clothing business, and ultimately created Kay Windsor, Inc., a national, multimillion dollar business. When it was acquired by the Vanity Fair corporation in 1971, Kay Windsor was one of the largest women’s clothing companies in the country.
Once Carl became successful, he and his wife, Ruth, felt it was their personal responsibility to give back. This was part of the family’s ethos, as Ruth came from a philanthropic family. Alongside Mitchell Rabkin, MD, former hospital president, the Shapiro family established the Carl J. Shapiro Clinical Center, the Carl J. Shapiro Institute for Education and Research, and the Carl J. Shapiro Simulation and Skills Center in 1996. They have supported prominent institutions across Boston, driven by their interests and local needs. Ruth was passionate about art and music. A classically trained pianist, she graduated at age 20 from Wellesley College. Both she and her husband were driven to make an impact in education. “Education was always so important to my father and he was thrilled to establish the simulation center, where doctors could learn and perfect their skills,” says Linda. “He always said, ‘knowledge is power.’”
The foundation’s gift to support the Klarman Building continues the family’s commitment to equitable care for patients, and to training for medical professionals. This building, which opened its doors in April, is a hub for clinical care and medical training on its four inpatient floors, as well as its ICU and surgical floors. Its eleventh-floor conference center is the medical center’s largest meeting space for research and educational conferences. “We are profoundly grateful to the Shapiro family for this remarkable gift to support BIDMC’s future of excellence,” says Pete Healy, President of BIDMC. To Linda, the building represents the local area’s world-renowned medical advances. “There is so much medical innovation coming out of Boston, and our family is proud to be a part of that” she says. “Stepping off the elevator onto the tenth floor of the spectacular new building was a very special moment for me and my family.”
The remarkable impact of Ruth and Carl Shapiro will continue for generations, thanks to the couple’s dedication and generosity. “Together my mother and father channeled their passions and created a legacy for all of us,” says Linda, whose parents were married for 73 years. “They were devoted to our family and to giving back.”