Frances Dinkelspiel Green
Frances Dinkelspiel Green

Franny Green, Federation’s first female president, 89

Frances Dinkelspiel Green, an avid philanthropist who in 1975-76 was the first woman to serve as president of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, died March 18. She was 89.

Green, known to friends and colleagues as Franny, served as president or board member of charitable organizations ranging from Hebrew Free Loan and Sinai Memorial Chapel to the Golden Gate chapter of the American Red Cross and United Bay Area Crusade.

She made history in 1975 when she was elected president of the Federation. When she won that organization’s Robert Sinton Award for Distinguished Leadership in 2013, award committee chair Roselyne Swig said Green embodied Sinton’s “spirit, generosity, philosophy and love of community.”

“She is a historic figure in the Jewish community for her efforts in opening up the opportunity for women to participate as equal partners in the leadership and vision of the Jewish Community Federation and its member agencies,” Swig said.

Green was a fourth-generation Californian. Her great-grandfather, Isaias Hellman, was a nearly penniless pioneer who came to California in 1859 and worked his way up to become president of Wells Fargo Bank, among many others. Her mother, Florence Hellman Dinkelspiel, served on the San Francisco Unified School District Board, and her father, Lloyd Dinkelspiel, served as chair of the Federation and the Stanford University Board of Trustees.

Green also served in leadership positions with the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Commission, Homewood Terrace, the Jewish Home of San Francisco, Mount Zion Hospital and the Judah L. Magnes Museum.

“She was a highly committed, generous, always independent, always there person who cared deeply about the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Brian Lurie, who was executive director of the Federation when Green served as president.

She was married for 64 years to William Green, who owned eyeglass stores and who died in 2014. She had three children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She lived in the Bay Area until moving to Portland, Oregon, in recent years to be closer to her family.

Services were held March 22 at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco. Donations in her honor can be made to the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living (formerly known as the Jewish Home of San Francisco), Emanu-El or the American Red Cross.

Rob Gloster

Rob Gloster was J.'s senior writer from 2016-2019.