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They've nurtured a generation of Jewish children and young people. They've ministered to the homeless and hungry. They've supported schools and community centers and gay families and breast cancer research.

Now these three Jewish matriarchs — Suzanne Goldsmith, Joanne McGillis and Irene Tannenbaum — are being recognized for their good works.

Attendees at Jewish Family Service's sixth annual Tribute Dinner on Sunday will hear stories about the women's life and work.

"We will pay tribute to these three remarkable, inspiring women who have greatly impacted our community through their humanitarian work and their mentorship of the next generation of women philanthropists," Ellen Silver, Jewish Family Service's executive director, says in a release.

As a young mother, Goldsmith founded the Jewish Community Center's Preschool (now The Early Childhood Center) and also worked as a teacher at the JCC. She later was a major fundraiser for the Travelers Aid Society and The Road Home, both of which serve the city's homeless population.

"I have always been sincerely interested in the homeless population," Goldsmith says in the release. "I've wanted to make their lives more productive, provide them with good counseling and housing, and give opportunities to those who are homeless to become active citizens in the community."

In her childhood, McGillis helped her mother deliver food to the needy through Jewish Family Service. With her husband, Dick, she launched the prestigious McGillis School in Salt Lake City, which caters to students throughout the area. The couple have also endowed scholarships at Westminster College, the University of Utah and U.'s College of Nursing.

On top of her philanthropic work, McGillis has written and directed musicals for B'nai B'rith, Temple B'nai Israel and Congregation Kol Ami.

Tannenbaum, with her late husband, Fred, has supported the Jewish Community Center for decades.

"It was very important to Fred and me," she says in the release, "to help build a strong and vibrant future through our [Jewish] organizations."

The Tannenbaums created a fund for GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) and were honored as parents of the year by PFLAG (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays). Tannenbaum also supports Keshet, which works for LGBT inclusion in all facets of Jewish life.

She is a breast-cancer survivor and backed the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the Image Reborn Foundation.

Early in her life, Tannenbaum modeled for the McCarty modeling agency, where she later taught modeling, as well as at Stevens-Henager College.

Peggy Fletcher Stack —

About the event

To learn more about Jewish Family Service's Tribute Dinner — to be held Sunday at the Garden Place at This Is the Place Heritage Park — or to obtain tickets, call 801-746-4334 or go to

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