Sarah Hoffberger, wife of a merchant and philanthropist, was born in eastern Europe. She and her husband, Charles, immigrated to Baltimore from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1881 to escape religious persecution. While Charles, known for his kindness, delivered food to impoverished families and extended hospitality and sponsorship to new immigrants, Sarah stayed busy helping to run the family businesses and raising children; she was known for her swift generosity in giving coal to neighbors in need.
At one point, Sarah took the family’s seven sons out of school and sent them each out with a horse and wagon to sell goods from her creamery on Baltimore’s streets. From the start, she instilled in her children the importance of giving back to the community.
The family’s organized philanthropy began in 1941 with the establishment of the Hoffberger Brothers Fund. The fund’s name was changed to the Hoffberger Foundation in 1963. In 1979, a second philanthropic organization, the Hoffberger Family Fund, was established as a supporting foundation of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.
In 1960, the Hoffberger family donated $668,000 toward the construction of the Children’s Medical and Surgical Center at Johns Hopkins.