US philanthropist and music theater producer Vera Guerin is no stranger to giving generously. Over the years she has donated substantial amounts of money to various medical-based causes. For example, in 2008 she gave $5 million for the research section of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Women’s Guild Lung Institute. If that were not enough, just five years later, Guerin was in full force again, with her $10 million check at the hospital enabling it to open the Vera and Paul Guerin Family Congenital Heart Program. As well, a further $10 million was given for the endowment of two academic chairs: one in pulmonary medicine and the other for pediatric neurosurgery. The money was also used to support the hospital’s new outpatient services building.
In addition to her generous monetary assistance, Guerin is both Vice Chair and Chair-Elect of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Directors. In the past she held a key role – President – at the Women’s Guild Lung Institute and trustee at the Harvard-Westlake School.
Advisory boards Guerin has served on include: Stephen S. Wise Temple; Skirball Culture Center.
Vera Guerin is the daughter of Holocaust survivors who were able to pick themselves up, start and again, and succeed phenomenally. Her mother was Lily Schreiber, who had been interned in Auschwitz during WW II, and her father was Nathan Shapell, a survivor of Buchenwald and Auschwitz, but was able to escape. He served as an interpreter/translator at a few of the war crimes trials that took place after the war.
The couple moved to California when Vera was five years old in 1952. Along with his brother David and brother-in-law Max Webb, Nathan founded Shapell Industries, which eventually built a total of 65,000 houses.
When Nathan passed away in 2007, Vera inherited her father’s 43 percent stake in the company.
Since that time, Vera, who married Paul Guerin, has been an active philanthropist and community leader. In 2008 she gave $5 million to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles to support the research division of the Women’s Guild Lung Institute. She also gave $10 million to two other programs at Cedars-Sinai. She established the Vera and Paul Guerin Family Congenital Heart Program and two academic chairs in the pulmonary medicine and pediatric neurosurgery divisions; and she also supports the new outpatient services building.
Other institutions she supports generously are the Harvard-Westlake School; the Stephen S. Wise Temple; the Skirball Cultural Center; and her husband, Paul is the president and board chairman of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.