Lee Gruen (He, Him, His)
Want to honor this person?
Make a donation to JUF in recognition of this 36 Under 36 honoree. This year, thanks to The Hineini Initiative, all 36 Under 36 donations will be matched—doubling your impact!
When Lee founded
Chai Athletics, he created an innovative way for Jewish children of all denominations to integrate sports into their lives.
Chai Athletics brings PE teachers and coaches to Jewish schools and summer camps throughout the Chicagoland area. Thanks to Lee, students at Hillel Torah, Akiba Schechter, Chedar Lubavitch, Arie Crown, and other schools, and campers at Chabad's Gan Izzy and the Moshava day camp, receive professional sports instruction for a minimal cost and become part of a burgeoning Jewish sports community.
He volunteered for Maccabi USA in 2018 and 2019 and plans to help with the 2022 games in Israel. He also gives his time to the Rochelle Zell Jewish High School basketball team, Chabad, and Northbrook Community Synagogue.
Every day, Lee imbues his values of the three "C"s--consistency, challenging, and community--to students and helps them find sports they enjoy and find fulfilling.
Founder/Owner of Chai Athletics
ON THE SIDE:
HOW DO YOU GIVE BACK:
I try to give back with my time and any
financial support possible. I never want a child to miss out in competing with
sports because of financial issues, so I always do what I can to make it
possible for everyone to participate. I also often volunteer my coaching
services for free whenever anyone is in need. There are few professional sports
coaches in the Chicagoland Jewish community and my goal is to bring great
coaching to the community that they can trust.
YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE:
Your boat is safe in the harbor,
but that's not what boats are made for.
HOW YOU JEW IN CHICAGO:
I have dedicated my
career to the Jewish community. Every day, I am involved in some part of the
Jewish community from Hyde Park to the north side. I try to spread my time
between all Jewish organizations and areas throughout my life from the Orthodox
community to those that are more reform.