A Legacy of Generosity Lives on Through Boehm Foundation

By all accounts, Herman Boehm led an amazing storybook life.

Today, his story continues through charitable giving, including a recent gift to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

After escaping Nazi Germany, where he had worked as a lawyer in Berlin, Boehm immigrated to the United States and married the love of his life, Antoinette, known as Mimi. He returned to Germany as an officer in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps and helped liberate the concentration camp where his father had been killed but where his mother was still being held.

Following his service in World War II—and with his mother safely in the United States—Boehm went on to eventually achieve great success as a food importer. When Mimi died of cancer in 1989, Boehm set up the Antoinette E. “Mimi” and Herman Boehm Foundation to award grants to promote cancer research.

The Foundation, run by trustees since Boehm’s death in 2002, continues his legacy of generosity. And while usually the trustees direct gifts to cancer research in New York, the opening of the new James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute got their attention.

Specifically what caught their eye, says Trustee Paul Chazan, a New York attorney, was an ad for the new James that ran in The New York Times Magazine

“We were very impressed by the ad,” says Chazan, recalling that it mentioned how the OSUCCC – James has recruited many of the world’s top researchers, drawing talent from renowned institutions such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

“Something about the ad really struck me, and I did some research on The James and found it to be a very deserving charity. Besides,” he jokes, “as great as these New York institutions are, they still have not found a cure for cancer. So why not give someone else a chance?”

Chazan, who never knew Boehm personally, admires his ambition to fund cancer research. Chazan’s own experience of losing his father to pancreatic cancer 40 years ago, and more recently of losing a client to pancreatic cancer, provides insight into the importance of research.

“Herman set up the foundation because he wanted to offer some hope for cancer,” says Chazan. “You need money to do these things, so whatever little bit we can do is money well spent.”