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Introducing the Gerald E. Franks Center for Culture and Community - The Selfhelp HOme

Introducing the Gerald E. Franks Center for Culture and Community

As we embark on the renovation of our illustrious roof deck, The Selfhelp Home celebrates the completion of renovations to our Social Hall, now known as the Gerald E. Franks Center for Culture and Community. For those of you familiar with our home, this is the large gathering space to the left of the lobby as you enter the home on Argyle Street.

The Gerald E. Franks Center for Culture and Community will be host to more than 1,000 programs every year, including concerts, lectures, holiday and Shabbat services, and so much more. The Gerald E. Franks Center for Culture and Community incorporates state-of-the-art assistive technology, called hearing loops, an assistive listening technology for individuals with reduced ranges of hearing, as well as other leading-edge developments in audio and video technology. In addition, the Gerald E. Franks Center for Culture and Community has a new modern design, with soothing neutral colors in our new carpet, wall treatments, and donor sign.

We could not have completed this amazing renovation without the generous support of our donors, especially the family of Gerry Franks, a founder and former board member of The Selfhelp Home. The family includes Gerald’s daughter, Debbie Lipsett, and his sons, Daniel and David. A full list of donors appears below. Thank you to all whose vision and partnerships enabled us to perform these important updates. We could not be more grateful for your support.

Gerry Franks dedicated his life to The Selfhelp Home. Fleeing Germany after Kristallnacht and settling in Chicago, 18-year-old Gerry became president of The Selfhelp Youth Group and was a frequent presence at the first home on Drexel Boulevard. He was smart, cultured, cosmopolitan, a patron of the arts. As a trustee of The Selfhelp Home for 70 years, he guided its growth and expansion. The Social Hall, the hub of the cultural arts at The Selfhelp Home, was a favorite place to relax and listen to music. When Gerry passed away in 2017, his family approached us to discuss a way to honor his legacy by updating and upgrading this space that meant so much to him.

“Gerry Franks was the very embodiment of the history, mission, and values of The Selfhelp Home.”

“Gerry Franks was the very embodiment of the history, mission, and values of The Selfhelp Home,” said Selfhelp Chairman Austin Hirsch. “Gerry was a true mentor of mine. When important decisions need to be made for Selfhelp, I often reflect, ‘What would Gerry have done?’ I am so proud that Gerry’s family supported the renovation of the Social Hall. The Gerald E. Franks Center for Culture and Community will be a continuing benefit for our residents as our venue for music and educational events where residents and family members join together. On behalf of the entire Selfhelp community, I want to express our thanks to the Franks family for their continuing support of the Selfhelp Home.”

We look forward to welcoming all of you to the Gerald E. Franks Center for Culture and Community.
SOCIAL HALL DONORS
  • Abt Family Foundation
  • Ethan & Elizabeth Bensinger
  • The Werner and Phoebe Frank Family Foundation
  • Daniel and Ronda Franks
  • David Franks
  • Armin and Esther Hirsch Foundation
  • Austin Hirsch & Beth Gomberg-Hirsch
  • Barry & Debbie Lipsett
  • The Estate of Lois R. Mayer
  • The Sephardic Foundation on Aging
  • Jeremy Strauss
  • Jonathan Strauss
  • Alan Stern
  • Myron Stern