Bill Davidson (1922-2009) – as well as being a successful US businessman (chair, CEO and president of Guardian Industries) was an extremely very generous philanthropist. A co-founder of the Pistons/Palace Foundation (which, itself gave over $20 million), his gifts to the William Davidson Institute at Michigan University has exceeded $55 million.
The Pistons/Palace Foundation also joined with the City of Detroit’s Parks and Recreation Department to create the Partnership to Adopt and Renovate Parks for Kids (PARK) Program. With this program parks, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, playground equipment and running trucks were renovated.
With all of these donations (and more), Davidson was honored by the Council of Michigan Foundations in 1997 for his “lifelong philanthropic efforts locally, nationally and internationally.” The New York Times (in the same year) named him one of the most generous donors in America.
Born in New York City in 1928, Irving Moskowitz was the ninth of thirteen children to parents who came to the US from Poland. His extended family suffered the loss of 120 members during the Holocaust. The family left New York when Irving was still a child, heading west to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There he went to medical school and after earning his MD, moved to Los Angeles.
Moskowitz built a successful medical practice in Southern California, but soon found a talent for real estate, becoming wealthy in the business.
In 1967 Ben Gurion, the famed retired Prime Minister of Israel, wrote to Moskowitz, and others, to help Israel settle the newly liberated areas, saying in the letter that: “”We need more Jews in the liberated territories.”
Moskowitz became the local president of the California branch of a nationwide group called the Zionist Organization of America. In his capacity as president of the local ZOA he committed to helping Israel strengthen its sovereignty over Jerusalem, which had been united during the Six Day War of 1967. He encouraged and supported Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.
He launched the Moskowitz Foundation in 1968, dedicated to improving and enriching the lives of people based on the idea that, “’He who has saved one life, it is as if he has saved the world.”
In 1980 Moskowitz moved to Miami Beach, where he continued to support his many causes on behalf of Israel. He was a key supporter of the Ir David Foundation and Ateret Cohanim, two organizations that help Jews move to neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
In 2008 he and his wife Cherna created the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, “as an expression of support for people who put Zionism into action in today’s Israeli society, acting for the benefit of the common good in order to ensure the strength and resilience of the national Jewish homeland.”
At the age of 88, Irving Moskowitz passed away, and was buried in his beloved Jerusalem, in June, 2016.
Alan Casden (born 1945) dedicates a lot of his resources to philanthropic endeavor. Born in 1945, throughout his life he worked hard to become a successful US businessman in the real estate industry. Today his companies have in total built more than 90,000 multi-family apartments.
Casden has also developed a staunch reputation of his giving nature. For example, he gave a staggering $10.6 million to the University of Sothern California for the Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life. He also endowed a dean’s chair at the Leventhal School and established the Casden Real Estate Economics Forecast within the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.
In recognition of some of his generosity, when President of the United States, George W. Bush appointed him to serve on the Honorary Delegation accompanying him to the city of Jerusalem to mark the state of Israel’s 60th anniversary in 2008. Thereafter he also selected him to serve for five years on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.
Throughout his life Casden has been supporting various Jewish-related causes such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance and LA’s Yesiva University. At the Jerusalem 3000 celebration he was named a “friend of Jerusalem.”
Thanks to the hard work, success, kindness and generosity of Armand Bartos and his wife Celeste, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has managed to make significant expansions to their buildings.
One example was their $100,000 donation in 1990 which went toward the expansion of MIT’s Rotch Library in the school’s architectural building. Nine years later they donated a staggering $1 million, which resulted in the creation of The Celeste and Armand Bartos Visualization Center
Further significant donations include: at the New York Library, both the Celeste Bartos Forum auditorium and $8.5 million for the Celeste and Armand Bartos Education Center. As well there have been contributions to art industries including: MoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Bartos Institute for the Constructive Engagement of Conflict, in the Montezuma Castle.
Jona Goldrich, a well-known supporter of Jewish institutions in the Los Angeles area, was a Holocaust survivor who fought in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.
Goldrich was born Jona Goldreich in 1927 in Lvov, Poland, which is today part of Ukraine. When he was just 15 years-old, he and his brother Avram traveled across Europe to Israel to escape the Nazis in 1942.
He spent the next 11 years in Israel, as a soldier fighting for Israel’s independence and earning a degree in mechanical engineering from Israel’s Technion Institute of Technology.
In 1952, he traveled to the United States, making his way to the Los Angeles area with only $50 to his name. He changed his name to Goldrich, and started working as installing screens in Los Angeles. Just two years late he started his own company, Active Cleaning & Maintenance. Only three years later Goldrich developed his first property, and apartment building in North Hollywood.
Through the years Goldrich made his more in Southern California real estate.
His influence in Los Angeles was not confined merely to real estate. He was a large supporter of Jewish institutions, and still is through the Goldrich Family Foundation. The foundation is endowed with over $100 million, and supports a huge range of causes, from research hospitals and local schools to organizations in Israel.
One of Goldrich’s largest contributions was as the force behind the creation of LAMOTH, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in Pan Pacific Park.
“He wanted people to experience history in the present,” said Samara Hutman, executive director of LAMOTH. “[He wanted] people to remember the people who are no longer with us, and if we don’t tell their stories, no one will.”
Jona Goldrich passed away in 2016, leaving behind his wife of 56 years, two daughters, a brother in Israel, and grandchildren.
During his lifetime, Harold Alfond – as well as being a hugely successful businessman – set up the Harold Alfond Foundation as an avenue for his philanthropical giving. At the time of its establishment in Maine – in 1950, there were no other such private foundations.
Within the five decades of its establishment, the Harold Alfond Foundation donated around $100 million to various causes. As of 2008 the value of its asset donation was $106 million. This includes: enhancement of sports facilities (including: the Alfond Arena, Maine University’s Alfond Stadium, the Rollins College Harold and Ted Alfond Sports Center), academic institutions (contribution of $10 million to build the primary academic hall at the Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.
Harold Alfond was also instrumental – alone and through his foundation – in bolstering Readfield’s Kents Hill School. The Alfond Athletics Center and the Alfond Athletic Fields were constructed in 2001 and 2008 respectively. Three years later the Akin Learning Center was built with a donation of $2.3 million. And in 2015 $3.5 million was received to build a new dining hall.
There have been many huge ways Alfond donated in his lifetime and at the end of his life – having battled cancer for 17 years – he donated $7 million to Augusta’s MaineGeneral Medical (Cancer Care) Center.
Israel’s roots go back to the illustrious Volozhin Yeshiva in the Russian Empire of the 19th century. In 1890, the famed Netziv, Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, sent Israel’s father, Samuel, on a fund-raising mission to the United States. Samuel decided to relocate to the US, and in 1895 opened a small textile mill in Brooklyn in 1895. One year later Samuel’s wife and four children joined him in the US, when Israel was nine years old. When Israel turned 16 years old his father handed over responsibility for the mill to him, while Samuel became the head of a yeshiva.
In 1912 the mill employed about 200 workers, but Israel ran the mill well and by 1920 he was running five mills with about 1000 employees between them. In 1921 Rogosin founded the Beaunit Corporation. In 1956, he opened a rayon yarn and tow factory called Rogosin Industries Ltd. The news of the success of the company spread to the newly established state of Israel. The then Finance Minister Pinchas Sapir invited Rogosin to move his industry to the Jewish state to help build the nascent economy and contribute to the development of the state as a whole.
Rogosin agreed, and in 1958 he moved his family and company to the newly founded city of Ashdod along the Mediterranean coast. The Israeli government gave Rogosin 1000 dunams to establish his factory on.
Five years later Rogosin sold his stake in the Beaunit Corp. By that time the company had about 10,000 workers on staff and was bringing in an annual revenue of about $150 million.
Rogosin gave $1 million to create a Center for Jewish Ethics in New York in 1966. He also donated $2.5 million to the Education Fund of the Jewish Agency to help build ten high schools in Israel. In honor of Israel Rogosin the main street running through Ashdod is named after him, as are two high schools there. In addition, a non-profit center for the treatment of and research into kidney disease in New York City is named the Rogosin Institute, also in his honor.