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Gottlob Armbrust Family Fund
By Jean Cohoon / October 9, 2018 /   Loading Disqus...

In 1913, Gottlob Armbrust traveled to Rhode Island to provide training to employees of S & B Lederer Company on the running of the company’s jewelry-making machines. With the outbreak of World War I the following year, he was unable to return to his native Germany.

Gottlob continued to work in Rhode Island’s growing jewelry industry; in 1920, he opened Armbrust Chain Company. During World War II the company manufactured the chains that held dog tags, as well as parts for an automatic rifle. The company continued to prosper and, in 1951, Gottlob established the Armbrust Foundation to help his employees with the costs of education. At the time of Gottlob’s death three decades later, Armbrust Chain Company was, according to his November 20, 1981 Providence Journal obituary, one of the largest manufacturers of jewelry chain in the world; at its height, it employed more than 300 people.

Gottlob and his wife, Bertha, had six children, with their oldest son, Howard, taking over leadership of the company in 1964 and continuing in that role until his retirement in 1998. He also served as executive trustee of the Armbrust Foundation.

Howard’s nephew, Dennis Ledbetter, recalls that under Howard’s leadership, the Foundation primarily supported Rhode Island charities and family members’ requests for charitable contributions to specific nonprofit organizations. Dennis explains, “In 1996 the children of Gottlob agreed that, when Howard was no longer willing or able to continue as the primary trustee, the Armbrust Foundation would be transferred to the Rhode Island Foundation.”

Howard died in 2017 and assets of the Armbrust Foundation were transferred in 2018, creating this donor advised fund of which Dennis is the managing trustee. “The expense of maintaining the private charity was more than the cost of working with the Rhode Island Foundation,” Dennis acknowledges.

He says that grant requests may be made by any of Gottlob’s descendants - his surviving children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren – a total of 47 family members. As the generations honor Gottlob’s philanthropic legacy, Dennis says, “It is my hope and desire that the Gottlob Armbrust Family Fund will keep future generations of the family together.”

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