Mar 18, 2011 03:00AM
● By Anonymous
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Anna Greenberg has been a professional volunteer for more than 40 years. Her list of contributions, board memberships, and leadership roles, on national, state, and local levels, is so prodigious that it is impossible to acknowledge it all. In the arts, her work has included serving as president of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and vice president of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and being a charter member of the Mitchell Gallery at St. John’s College and a founding member of First Night Annapolis.
In education, she is a member of the Board of Visitors and Governors of St. John’s College and past president of the Caritas Society; past national vice president and founding president of the Annapolis chapter of the Brandeis University National Women’s Committee; and president of Scholarship for Scholars, an organization that provides 30 college scholarships for Anne Arundel high school seniors.
She has served the Jewish community as a member of the national board of Hadassah, a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, and co-chair of the 100th anniversary of Congregation Kneseth Israel in Annapolis.
A graduate of the University of Maryland, she married Captain Edwin G. Greenberg, a Naval Academy graduate. Together with their children, Joyce and David, they made their home in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The transient experience heightened her awareness of the importance of community. “My mother volunteered wherever we were,” says her daughter, Joyce Greenberg Deutsch. “My father was always supportive. It gave us all a sense of roots. I’m very proud of her work.”
In 1973, after 23 of years of travel, Captain and Mrs. Greenberg returned to her native Annapolis, where she began to volunteer full time. Despite what her achievements suggest, Mrs. Greenberg modestly claims she has no talent. “I don’t type, I don’t write press releases, and I don’t arrange flowers,” she declares in her rich, resonant voice. “I think of things. I delegate and I know how to match people up.”
Christopher Nelson, president of St. John’s College, gives her talents more weight, “She takes the profession of a volunteer seriously and can accomplish things that others can’t. She is able to use her powers of persuasion to make things happen.”
And yes, Mrs. Greenberg knows how to raise money. “I was brought up to give back,” she says. “My father always shared what he had. I give to the breadth of my resources and I have no problem asking others to do the same. If you don’t ask, it won’t happen.”
Managing all of her commitments is no easy feat. She credits her mother for her strong organizational skills.
“When she is working with you, she has the ability to keep a sharp focus, to turn everything else off,” says Pat Edwards, the first executive director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. “She gives her unflinching support.”
In addition to her reputation for getting things done, Mrs. Greenberg is also known for being outspoken. Colleagues agree that her style is direct and forthright. “Making a difference is never easy and Anna speaks from her heart,” says George C. Shenk Jr., president of Whitmore Print & Imaging, currently serving with her on the board of Historic Annapolis Foundation. “She speaks her mind and is unabashed in her zeal for what she believes is right. Having worked with her for over 20 years, I have never questioned her heart. Her commitment to our community is virtually unparalleled.”
Mrs. Edwards agrees, “She wants to do what is for the good of the organization. She is not afraid of change and is ready to find the solution to a problem.”
Mrs. Greenberg says that her work with Mrs. Edwards for the Annapolis Symphony has been some of her most satisfying. “At that time, the symphony had no office and no phone; nothing was well defined,” recalls Ms. Edwards. “We watched every nickel but we found a chair, a desk, and a typewriter—we had office hours. We booked the hall, sold tickets, and provided public relations. Anna went out into the community, where she had huge credibility, and put us on the map. In 6 months, the audience doubled. It was an extraordinary experience and we savored it.”
With such public successes, Mrs. Greenberg has been offered paid positions, but she was never interested. “I don’t do this for money,” she says, explaining the volunteer spirit. “It is the satisfaction that I’ve made a difference in people’s lives.”
At 76 and recently widowed, Mrs. Greenberg has received numerous awards for her service. Still, she remains devoted to her work and has no intention of slowing down. “My mother believes that you must stay vibrant to be vibrant,” says Joyce Greenberg Deutsch.
Anna Greenberg is vibrant. As George Shenk puts it, “If it is true that a community is a reflection of the people in it, Annapolis shines with Anna Greenberg.”