Jerry Kramer is a Boca Raton resident, a first-generation college graduate, and has lived life with a simple wish: “I was always hoping that tomorrow would be better than today.”
Jerry’s journey began in the 1930s when he lost his mother during The Great Depression. Growing up, he received little support or guidance from his father, attended seven different elementary schools, and started working at age 10 to support his family.
As a young man, Jerry wandered aimlessly before joining the army at 18. There, he found purpose and became a highly decorated Korean War solider. Jerry returned home to New York in 1952 with a Bronze Star for Valor and Purple Heart for bravery in combat, always helping people in need.
Through hard work and a bit of fortune, Jerry worked at a Brooklyn lumberyard selling construction material, an experience that led him to become a builder in the early 1960s. He eventually developed thousands of apartments and single-family homes throughout New York and Florida.
Jerry recognizes the value of a college education and understands the challenges first-generation students face. After earning a GED, at the age of 46, he began night school at a college on Long Island in 1974. It took 10 years, but Jerry graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Dowling College. He accomplished this while running his own very successful home building company on Long Island which he built from scratch. The company was building 200 homes per year.
A number of years ago Jerry wrote a book, “My Journey of Hope”, for his grandchildren and future family members. It is an amazing uplifting read on what one person can do to help others.
In 1994, Jerry became very involved in ADL and worked very closely with Abe Foxman for many years. Shortly thereafter he became the President of the Boca West ADL Chapter. By 2005 this chapter raised $750,000 for ADL.
In 2005 Jerry revitalized a failing startup to supply specially trained rescue dogs to returning vets. He donated $100,000 and raised $2,000,000 to purchase 40 rescue dogs.
Some of the major charities Jerry is involved in include the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach, Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program, JAFCO, ADL, Jewish Family Services and many more.