October 16, 2021

Conejo Valley History

Last Updated: March 2018

Conejo Valley 2008 till nowBrandeis University was founded in 1948 by members of the American Jewish Community and reflects the traditions of scholarship and commitment to social justice personified by Louis Dembitz Brandeis, the distinguished Supreme Court justice for whom the university is named.

In its short history, Brandeis has achieved acclaim as one of the finest research universities in the country. The vision and determination of a cadre of loyal supporters have helped make possible its growth in every arena of academia.

The same year that the University was founded, a dynamic and vital fund-raising arm of the University was also created; the Brandeis University National Women’s Committee (BUNWC), currently known as the Brandeis National Committee (BNC). Originally the BUNWC was specifically dedicated to providing philanthropic support of the University’s libraries, but now the BNC has expanded to supporting the University libraries, scholarships, and research. Since its establishment, BNC has raised more than $115 million for the University’s libraries and developed into the biggest friends-of-a-library network in the world.

In the Spring of 2005 the idea for a Conejo Valley chapter of BNC was conceived. Members of the San Fernando Valley chapter started floating the idea of beginning a new chapter in the Conejo Valley. It was felt that there were enough members from the San Fernando Valley Chapter who were now living in the Conejo Valley to support a new chapter. Also, the demographics of the Conejo Valley indicated a large number of “mature” Jewish women who might be interested in joining our organization.

A few leaders, believing this to be a viable concept planned a meeting in June of 2005 which attracted 75 women. Representatives from the BNC Western Region attended this meeting to educate us about Brandeis University and the wonderful work that the organization does to enrich the University. From that meeting a nucleus was formed to give birth to a new chapter. Enthusiastic volunteers offered to serve as officers and we had a board of ten members. We officially became a “chapter in formation”.

Word spread like wildfire throughout our community about the exciting new organization being formed. A short nine months after that first meeting our new chapter was officially installed as the 80th chapter of BNC. Boasting over 200 members, we more than exceeded the 75 persons required by National to be officially recognized.

On April 26, 2006, Jenna Katz, then President of BNC Western Region, presented the Charter Certificate to Carrie Mataraza and Honey Bencomo, two of the three founding members of the Presidium.

From that momentous occasion, we have grown to a membership of over 600 men and women and more than doubled the size of our original Board. Our reputation as a vibrant organization attracted many talented people. We have created over 75 Study Groups encompassing a wide range of interests and activities for both men and women.

In June of 2008, at the National Conference in Waltham, we were honored to be presented with the coveted “Chapter of the Year” award and the “Louie”. These prestigious awards were even more meaningful to us as this was the very first year we were eligible for consideration. We were privileged to again receive “Chapter of the Year” award and the “Louie” in 2010 and again in 2012 and 2015.

We are very proud of our progress and successes. We hope to follow in the footsteps of our neighboring chapters, San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles, both of which have thrived for many decades.

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