House of Ruth

Caryl Bernstein’s 26 Years on House of Ruth’s Board of Directors

In 1991, Caryl Bernstein was serving as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Fannie Mae, as well as raising her children with her beloved husband. A dear friend of hers, Margery Waxman, was serving on the board of House of Ruth and felt strongly that Caryl should get involved too. She invited her onto the board that year – and Caryl has served on the House of Ruth board for the past 26 years.

During that time, she has served as chair of the board for six years, has served as co-chair of the governance committee, and has served on the finance, program and compensation committees. She is retiring from the board because, as she said, “I’m 83 years old, and my three-year term is coming to an end. I am convinced that the organization is now on a good path and in good hands.”

Caryl remains an attorney, and said part of what drew her to House of Ruth was the direct impact the programs have on people’s lives. “I was active in the Pro Bono Committee of the DC Bar for many years. The work at House of Ruth appealed to me because it has a more immediate impact on people’s lives,” she said. “So I continued on the Bar’s pro bono committee, but I joined House of Ruth.” She also liked that the number of women House of Ruth is able to help per dollar donated shows what an effective organization we are.

“I’ve always served on the board in part because I feel ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ when I hear the stories of the clients,” Caryl said. “For me, it is a way of being grateful for my good parents and my good life. The stories that the women tell reinforces how good the work of House of Ruth is.”

“We are grateful to Caryl for her wise leadership, years of shepherding our bylaws, and generous support of House of Ruth,” said Executive Director Sandra Jackson. “She has been a wonderful member of our leadership team.”