Meet Ed and Linda Kaleff

An Affinity for Helping

If the measure of a man is how willing he is to help others, then Ed Kaleff stands very tall indeed.  Because Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center is a Catholic Hospital, Ed and Linda have taken a special interest in supporting the hospital and its healing mission.

A graduate of Blair High School in Pasadena, Ed worked his way up from the warehouses of Certified Grocers in the 1970s to become the company's procurement director, responsible for $280 million in purchases annually.  

Along the way, a coworker gave Ed and Linda tickets to a show at the Long Beach Civic Light Opera (CLO). The young couple enjoyed the experience so much, they became season ticket-holders.  They decided to support CLO by joining its Diamond Terrace philanthropic group, and became friends with clothier Gordon James, a prominent Long Beach socialite and major supporter of CLO.

"Gordon loved the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, founders and operators of St. Mary Medical Center," Ed recalls.  "When I met him, he had taken on the chairmanship of the hospice auction at the hospital.  He asked me to help with the event, and I agreed."  

Ed joined the auction committee in 1990 and soon became a staunch supporter of the annual event.  In addition to underwriting the event annually, he works tirelessly to procure exciting auction items and purchases extra tables for friends and coworkers.  

In 1980, Ed left Certified Grocers to establish Quality Container Company with Linda.  As their company grew, so did their generosity and the amount of time they devoted to St. Mary.  Over the years, Ed chaired the St. Mary's Annual Gala three times and underwrote the dinner for last year's 34th annual gala. Ed procured gift-in-kind donations that ranged from elaborate wine and dinner packages at prominent Southland restaurants, to premier tickets, to sporting events for every professional team in Southern California.

As his friendships with hospital supporters have deepened over the years, Ed has become even more involved with St. Mary Foundation functions.  In 1999, Ed became a member of the hospital Board of Trustees, and in 2004 he became a member of the St. Mary Medical Center Foundation Board of Trustees. 

Ed regularly rises at 4 a.m. to make the lengthy drive from Indian Wells to Long Beach in order to attend the Foundation's 7 a.m. Board meetings. Gordon credits Ed for the success of the galas, always trying to exceed expectations, including his own.  

"Ed has been very generous," Gordon notes.  "He has been there for St. Mary in so many ways."  As always, Ed's friendships influence his philanthropic decisions.  In addition to supporting the Sisters' mission at St. Mary, Ed and Linda support the mission of the Carmelite Sisters in Alhambra. They have also been active supporters of the Squires Club of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Police Department and California Highway Patrol, Youth Sports Activities, Kings Care Foundation, the Salvation Army Rampart Division, and California Pools for the Handicapped, where they received the "Man and Woman of the Year" awards.

One of Ed's favorite activities is construction, and he has remodeled each of the five homes the couple owns.  Their property in Indian Wells includes a separate casita and wall dedicated to their trips to the Vatican and audiences with the Pope. He helped update the Carmelite Retreat House in Alhambra with air conditioning and other modern amenities to make the property more comfortable for the Sisters and novices. He also updated the kitchen and dining area for the Carmelite Sisters who reside in the Santa Teresita facility in Duarte.

"I like helping people," Ed says.  "And I like helping St. Mary's. The hospital is very active in the community and I like to know that I am helping to support their outreach."  
In addition to being recognized for their philanthropic support for St. Mary, the Kaleffs have also been recognized by their beloved Catholic Church.  Both he and Linda are Eucharistic Ministers and members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre as Knight and Lady Grand Cross.  Ed also is a member of the Knights Templar, Priory of Our Savior, and has served on the Board for the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, where he and Linda continue to support elementary and college scholarships.

"If a friend or St. Mary's needs something, Ed is the one to call," says Diane Mansfield, the hospital's Special Events Director.  "Ed is genuinely the most giving and tenderhearted person I've ever met," she says.  

Many other people would agree. Through hard work and a willingness to help, Ed stands tall among men.  Both and he and Linda continue to make a huge impact on the community served by St. Mary, helping to advance the mission of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word that has defined their work for the past 93 years.  Ed and Linda have been a part of that rich history, and have become more than just benefactors to the hospital; they have become dear friends.