Born in Germany in 1933, Henry Jarecki fled the Nazis as a child with his family and took refuge in the United Kingdom. He attended the Heidelberg University medical school, graduating in 1957. For the next ten years Jarecki taught at Yale Medical School while running a psychiatric practice in New Haven, Connecticut. He also wrote articles on psychiatry, especially about drug therapies, and drug addictions.
In the late 1960 Jarecki became involved in the London Bullion house called Mocatta & Goldsmid, Ltd. He opened a branch of the firm in the USA, the Mocatta Metals Corportation. Jarecki was a pioneer on Wall Street when his company became the first to employ women and minority traders, and then later in the 1980s, to use computers in the commodities markets.
In the 2000s he became involved in the theater and film industries, producing Gardeners of Eden (2004), Cuba: Island of Music (2005), Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death (2007), The Third Wave (2008), Tyson (2009), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2009), and A Streetcar Named Desire (2012).
Jarecki has also been involved in many philanthropic causes, such as serving as vice-chairman of the Institute of International Education (IIE) and Chairman Emeritus of the Scholar Rescue Fund, which he founded in 2002, and is Chairman of the Scholar Rescue Fund’s efforts in Germany. In 2004, he co-founded the Gloria and Henry Jarecki School in Ratanakiri, Cambodia and served as a trustee of the American Museum of Natural History.
As well as being a highly successful businessman and investor, David Gelbaum and has family has worked hard to give back to society and the world at large. Indeed, according to an article in The New York Times by Todd Woody, he is “an intensely private person who happens to be one of the nation’s largest – and largely unknown – green technology investors and environmental philanthropists.”
Using the company he established Quercus Trust as a springboard for investments, since 2002 he has given approximately $500 million to firms working within the green economy industry. This includes: electric cars, renewable energy, smart electric grids and sustainable agriculture. He also co-founded a land trust which has, over the years, acquired and preserved 1,200 square miles of land in California. Through Wildlands Conservancy he has given approximately $250 million so that these lands can be acquired and conserved as well as a further $200 million to the Sierra Club which aims to offer kids who are not able to engage in outdoor activities the opportunity to do so.
With his family David Gelbaum has given back to the army as well. Understanding the difficulty of adapting to life after service, the Gelbaums set up the Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund (IADIF), which ultimately gave $243 million in grants to 53 non-profits between 2006 and 2010. Further they donated $93 million to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Gelbaums have worked with the NAACP on matters including: immigrants’ rights, prisoners’ rights, and the War on Drugs. They are advocates for human rights issues and are the largest donators to the educational Save Our Youth (Costa Mesa) fund.
This article is just part of the issues in which David Gelbaum and family contribute.
Sidney Harman was born in Montreal in 1918, but he grew up in New York City. Interestingly, for a man who later became a co-founder of the famed Harman-Kardon company, his father worked for a hearing aid company.
Harman studied physics at a branch of City College that later became Baruch College, graduating in 1939. He went to work at the David Bogen Company, which made loudspeakers in New York. He served in the army from 1944-45, and upon release went back to David Bogen and became a general manager by the early 1950s.
In 1953 Harman and chief engineer at Bogen Bernard Kardon both quit their jobs and started a company with $5000 each called Harman-Kardon. The company created the first integrated hi-fi receiver, known as the Festival D1000.
The company became an instant success, and just three years later was worth about $600,000. In 1958 Kardon retired, and Harman produced the first hi-fi stereo receiver.
During the 1960s Harman became and activist and an opponent of the war in Vietnam that the US was engaged in at the time. He was also part of the civil rights movement, traveling down to Prince Edward County in Virginia to teach black students after the schools were closed in order to avoid their legal obligation to end segregation.
In 1986 Harman took his company public, and was its CEO until 2007 and then retired as chairman in 2008. That year he went to teach at USC as a polymath professor. He lectured on architecture, medicine, law, economics and other subjects.
Harman was an active philanthropist, donating millions of dollars to a huge variety of worthy causes and institutions. His love was education, performing and fine arts although he went way beyond those areas in his giving. He gave $20 million to build the Shakespeare Theater Company’s Sidney Harman Hall in Washington. He was also a trustee of the Aspen Institute, Cal Tech, Freedom House and the Martin Luther King Center for Social Change. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and the National Symphony are beneficiaries of his largess.
His last great act was to purchase the troubled news magazine, Newsweek in August 2010. The $1 he paid for it dropped a debt worth $47 into his lap. At the age of 92 he was far from daunted. Under his leadership, and with the help of Barry Diller, the owner of the Daily Beast, the two news outlets merged. When Harman died in April, 2011, the Newsweek/Daily Beast project was still afloat, although struggling. At the time of Harman’s death, Diller said,
“Three weeks ago, when he told me of his illness, he said he and his family wanted to continue as partners in Newsweek/Beast in all events. We will carry on, though we will greatly miss his passionate enthusiasm and belief in the venture.”
In the past, she sat on the Board of Trustees of the New York Restoration Project and for two years she chaired the Board of Directors of the Center for Jewish History. For a decade Goldman Fowler sat on the Seed Savers Exchange Board of Directors.
Neil Kadisha, of Persian descent, is a Beverly Hills denizen who doesn’t hesitate to help his community and beyond. Kadisha was born in Teheran, but was educated in Manchester, England, and married into the wealthy Nazarian family. His family left Iran after the downfall of the Shah.
Involved in business from a very young age, Neil Kadisha helped found the satellite communications company Omninet Corp in 1984 with his father-in-law Izak Parviz Nazarian and Izak’s brother Younes. In 1988 the partners sold Omninet to Qualcomm, and Kadisha joined the company as a Director.
In 2002 Kadisha resigned from the board of Qualcomm, and focused his efforts on managing his assets and especially on his Omninet Capital portfolio companies. It is estimated that Kadisha is worth a bit under $2 billion, with most of his assets tied up in Qualcomm.
His involvement in Jewish causes is legendary. He is a co-founder of the Citizens’ Empowerment Center in Israel; is on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles; is a member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization; is on the board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; is a member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the World’s Presidents Organization; and is on the board of the Phoenix House.
Kadisha’s wife, Dora Nazarian, manages the family’s philanthropic gifts.
“We believe in the State of Israel. We believe in it as a Jewish, stable, prosperous country that we can be proud of. It’s our responsibility to make that happen.”
Having been described as a “major donor” in his lifetime, Benny Alagem is no stranger to generosity. The City of Tel Aviv – recognizing his kindness and contributions over the years – in 1995 appointed him an Honorary Ambassador and he also sits on the Israeli-American Council’s Board of Directors as an honorary member. He is also a member of the Advisory Board for the American Friends of The Citizens’ Empowerment Center in Israel.
Some examples of this generosity include: picking up the tab for the 2012 Council Leadership Gala; in 2004 held a fundraiser for the March of the Living (which raised $1m) and co-chaired a fundraiser for the Friends of the IDF which raised $5.2m for the IDF.
In recognition for his work, in 2016 Alagem was given the Philanthropic Leadership Award from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Board of Governors.
Born the first year of the 20th century to Jewish parents, Benjamin Buttonwieser was an active leader in the Jewish and general communities of New York City, where he was an enthusiastic resident.
Benjamin was the son of Joseph L. Buttonwieser, an important real estate investor in New York City. He grew up in his family’s Lenox Avenue home in Harlem, and began his studies at Columbia University at the tender age of 15. He was not allowed to later pursue a PhD because Columbia said he was not old enough, so he joined Kuhn Loeb, a real estate firm, where he became a runner.
He never went back to Columbia, but earned an honorary doctorate from there at the age of 76. At the age of 67, while he co-chaired a $200 million fund-raising campaign for Columbia, the Association of the Alumni of Columbia College gave him its most prestigious award: The Alexander Hamilton Medal.
Buttonwieler served as the president of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York from 1938 until 1940. That organization later became the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York. Joseph, Benjamin’s father held the same position in the 1920s, and his son, Lawrence was also the president of the same organization in the 70s.
Benjamin also was a member of the executive committee of the American Jewish Committee.