As an immigrant to New York from Europe, Rudy Bruner built a successful metals company that grew from a small operation in a Brooklyn basement to a multi-million dollar public corporation. Throughout his life, he was known for his great compassion for people, particularly those less fortunate than himself. Together with his wife Martha, he founded the Bruner Foundation to create opportunity for others and to inspire meaningful social change.
Rudy Bruner personified the typical Horatio Alger story. He came to this country as a young man shortly after the First World War seeking opportunities of the “promised land” and an escape from the bitter poverty and smothering restrictions he experienced in his native Europe.
Rudy Bruner’s establishment of the Bruner Foundation was his way of offering through an organized, institutionalized medium the creation of enlarged opportunities for bettering the lives of other.
He was a person of considerable creative talent and foresight who reached out unhesitatingly to explore his varied interests and to share them generously with his family and his many friends. He had an intense drive and a kind of daring personality not unlike that of a gambler determined to win. Yet, with all of this enormous capacity for competition and this tremendous ability to make things happen, he had a great depth of understanding and compassion of people, particularly those less fortunate than he, that he endeared him to all who knew him.
The metals company he built reflected the character and life story of its creator. It grew from a small operation in a Brooklyn basement to a multi-million dollar public corporation and enjoyed a reputation for having advanced the state-of-the-art of thin metal processing. But its President and Board Chairman still knew and talked with, on a first-name basis, the majority of his more than 300 employees.
Rudy Bruner’s life was a vital, dynamic kaleidoscopic one—but people were his mainstay. He was sensitive to their needs, he rejoiced with them, he cried with them, he took chances with them, and he tolerated their weaknesses—for they were each individual human beings whose dignity he respected.
Even though Rudy Bruner achieved his success by his own doing, he always thought of himself as uncommonly lucky. He cherished America and all it had made possible for him—but he never forgot his hungry years. His establishment of the Bruner Foundation was his way of offering through an organized, institutionalized medium the creation of enlarged opportunities for bettering the lives of other.
Excerpted from 1972 Bruner Foundation Annual Report