Beth Nusbaum Curtiss views herself as a catalyst of sorts, a connector who helps people find their metier in the volunteer world.

“So, one of the things that I love about being involved in the community is being able to find people’s needs and put their skill sets together with people in need because I think that people want to do good in this world,” said Curtiss, adding she enjoys the friendships and the sense of connectedness as well.

Professionally, Curtiss was a child life worker at St. Luke’s Hospital and at Mt. Sinai Hospital, both in Cleveland, and later served as director of volunteers at the Jewish Community Center. She spent 15 years as an educational consultant with Discovery Toys.

Born in Norfolk, Va., Curtiss, grew up at Ohef Sholom Temple and graduated from Granby High School, both in Norfolk. She attended Goucher College in Baltimore and graduated from Wheelock College in Boston.

She met her husband, Cleveland native Rand Curtiss, at a cousin’s wedding. After the two married, they lived in Boston until Rand graduated from Harvard Business School in Cambridge. They then moved to Cleveland, raising their family in Shaker Heights.

“I was raised in a family that was always involved in the community – a small Jewish community in Norfolk – a family that you give back to your community,” said Curtiss, whose father and grandfather were both president of her childhood temple. “So, that was part of who I was.”

She said she began volunteering shortly after moving to Cleveland “to be involved in the community.”

Her first volunteer commitment was to Suburban Temple-Kol Ami in Beachwood, where she later became president, and to the Mt. Sinai Auxiliary, where she took on a leadership role.

At the same time, she was involved in her professional organization, then known as the Association for the Care of Children’s Health.

“So, my community work has always been with Jewish organizations and with the general community,” Curtiss said. “That was really important to make those connections between different parts of our community as connectors because we’re all part of the Greater Cleveland community.”

When Curtiss was at Goucher, she first engaged with National Council of Jewish Women in Baltimore.

“I always knew that it was a place that had good programming with the same ideals that I believed in,” said Curtiss, adding she remained connected with NCJW in Cleveland. “So, most of my community work has been around health, education, empowerment and children.”

Curtiss is also one of 30 women who belong to Fun’D First, a giving circle and supporting foundation of the Cleveland Foundation. It chooses areas of interest, brings in speakers and selects organizations to award annual grants.

In the last decade, Curtiss has focused her volunteer efforts first on Rainbow Babies and Children’s Foundation, where she is a past president. That role allowed her to listen closely and work collaboratively.

Curtiss has had a second area of focus on InMotion, a wellness center for those with Parkinson’s disease, which she helped launch.

“The dedication of the people involved in getting it off the ground was only matched or surpassed by the clients and their desire and their persistence to make their lives better.”

In launching InMotion, “People came together with a mission,” Curtiss said. “They were philanthropic, sharing of skills, time and treasures. It was a perfect example of how Cleveland develops community.”

InMotion occupies its own 20,000-square-foot building in Beachwood, which opened in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As much as I love community service and giving, I think you get back, triple, quadruple, what you give. That’s a big part,” Curtiss said. “And I’m lucky to be in a family that believes that this is important, and it’s an important part of what we’ve tried to pass onto our children. There are ways to give. It doesn’t have to just be monetarily.”

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