College started out on a sad note for Cynthia Cumins Brams of Augusta, GA, whose father had died when she was six. The summer before Cindy was to enter the University of Georgia, her mother suffered a recurrence of the breast cancer that had been in remission for over a decade. Cindy wanted to stay home, but her mother insisted she go away to school and learn to live an independent life.
Cindy was the youngest of four children, three of whom her mother had already put through college. Because of her mother’s financial burdens, Cindy left for college with assistance from the Jewish Educational Loan Fund. Sadly, her mother died during Cindy’s freshman year. “JELF’s help took a lot of stress off our family at a very difficult time,” Cindy recalled.
After Cindy graduated from the University of Georgia in 1988, she took the CPA exam and moved to Atlanta to work for Touche Ross (now Deloitte and Touche). After four years there, she worked next for a health care services company and then became Finance Director of the physician practices group at Scottish Rite, Atlanta’s pediatric hospital.
But Cindy longed for the quieter life she had lived growing up in Augusta, and about after a few years she, her husband Joe and their two children, Ben and Sarah decided to move to Charleston, SC, where Cindy’s brother lived. In 1999, their family grew again with the birth of daughter Sophie.
Today, Cindy is a shareholder with Elliott Davis Decosimo, a regional public accounting firm ranked among the Top 30 firms in the country. But she also has made it a point to become part of Jewish life in Charleston, where she is a member of Kahol Kadosh Beth Elohim, Charleston’s reform synagogue, and the Charleston Jewish Community Center. In previous years, she has also participated as a member of the allocations committee for Charleston Jewish Federation and been the Treasurer for the Adult Board of Charleston BBYO. In addition, she is the Treasurer of Trident United Way, a board member of Roper Hospital, an advisory board member for the College of Charleston Accounting Program, and past Chair Mason Preparatory School.
JELF’s assistance “certainly gave me what I needed to make it through college and beyond. I was able to go away, focus on my education and use that education to learn to be independent at a time when it was most important,” Cindy says. Besides fulfilling her mother’s hope for independence, it’s clear that Cindy Brams also learned to live a very full life.