J.B.Van Nuys’ father, Isaac Van Nuys, originally from New York, moved to Southern California in 1871. He purchased the 60,000 acre San Fernando Ranch and farmed the land for many years, until it was subdivided in 1910 and came to be known as the San Fernando Valley. Isaac Van Nuys married Susanna Lankershim and founded the town of Van Nuys, Calif.
J.B. continued to expand the family ranching and real estate businesses and lived his entire life in Los Angeles.
J.B. and Emily met and married in 1909 in San Raphael, Calif. They did not have children. In 1958, J.B. and Emily Van Nuys established a charitable trust to provide support to worthwhile Los Angeles nonprofit organizations. J.B. passed away in 1962. On Emily’s death in 1975, she willed that the couple’s substantial holdings be held in trust for the benefit of charitable causes. The funds contributed to this day have grown to an endowment of more than $20 million.