What is now the GVS Club began very informally in the early 1990’s with a dozen or so old high school classmates meeting monthly for lunch. Gradually, without any strategic plan, the group expanded both in size and age range of its members and began holding semiannual dinners. Eventually, it was decided to use a portion of the dinner proceeds for donations to charitable organizations. To date, we have raised over $1,000,000 for such charities including:
- AFMDA (American Friends of Magen David Adom) . Our 15 sponsored ambulances have honored among others: David Gritz (son of member), killed in Hebrew University bombing, Irv Bemoras (star Marshall High, University of Illinois and NBA player), Jerome Holtzman (Hall of Fame baseball writer), comedian Shelley Berman, Judge Richard Elrod and eight of our deceased founding members and directors, Jordy Leff, Al Berman , Judge Gerald Bender, Stu Granick , Mike Scharff , Jerry Lipman , Jack Esses and Billy Woloshin.
- Illinois Holocaust Museum
- Leukemia Research
- Jewish United Fund
- Prostate Cancer Research
- Juvenile Diabetes
- American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem (who gave Guardian of Jerusalem award to GVS)
Our speakers (many of them West Siders) have included:
- Mark Weitzman— Simon Wiesenthal Center representative
- Dan Protess —WTTW (Channel 11) Producer
- Irwin Mandel—Vice President, Chicago Bulls
- Shuli Eshel and Roger Schatz— Authors of Documentary “Maxwell Street”
- Gary Tuchman and Jackie Bange— Television Correspondents
- Ira Berkow— NY Times Sports Columnist and Author
- Shelley Berman— Comedian and TV Star
- Rich Cohen— Glencoe native and author
- Jerry Markbreit — Retired NFL referee
- Michael Lufrano—Vice President, Chicago Cubs
- Leon Leyson— Holocaust survivor and youngest member of Schindler’s List.
- Joel Weisman—Chicago attorney and TV personality
- Dr. Bernd Wohlschlaeger– American physician and author
- Jill Wine-Banks— Former Watergate Prosecutor and MSNBC Analyst
- David Goldenberg, Midwest Managing Director, Anti Defamation League.