Thursday, June 21, 2007

Philanthropist's Death Saddens Students, Colleagues

By John Birdsall
Thu, Jun 21, 2007 at 12:10 AM

On Tuesday, Bread Project cofounder Lucie Buchbinder of Oakland was struck and killed by an Amtrak train at the crossing in Jack London Square. Buchbinder, 83, was crossing the tracks in late afternoon with a small group, but was the only pedestrian struck. "It appears she did not notice the train heading toward her, said her husband of 20 years, Martin Dreyfuss," said a report in the Oakland Tribune.

The nonprofit Bread Project provided job training and placement for low-income adults, teaching baking, cooking, and job-readiness skills in classes at the Oakland and Berkeley Adult Schools. Buchbinder was 83 and a native of Austria who fled the Holocaust to settle in Sacramento. The Trib reported that Buchbinder worked as a public housing specialist for HUD. In retirement she focused on philanthropy, launching the Bread Project with Susan Phillips in 2000. Project board member Laura Wallan recalled that Buchbinder would occasionally accompany students to job interviews. "She did not want to see people in poverty," said Adrienne White, owner of A Beautiful Swan Custom Catering in Oakland and a Bread Project graduate. Buchbinder stepped down for the Bread Project's board at the beginning of the month, but was continuing to court donations. Her latest project was an ongoing series of dinners -- called the Guest Chef program -- pairing current students with high-profile chefs in upscale East Bay restaurants. The first event was June 10 at B Restaurant & Bar; the next dinner is scheduled for September 9. "She leaves such a huge legacy behind," said Adrienne White.

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