Giving in the Arts and Humanities

Sylvan Goldman – the inventor of the grocery cart – was an incredibly generous man.  Together with his wife, during his life Goldman developed a reputation for his giving, charitable, philanthropic nature.

Much of this was encountered in the art industry, in particular in institutions in Oklahoma.  Some of these examples include: his generosity to the National Conference of Christians and Jews at the Southwest Center for Human Relations at the University of Oklahoma.

For his generosity he was honored in a variety of ways.  These include:

  1. 1950: Pawnee Indian Tribe – Honorary Chief
  2. 1965: Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award
  3. 1971: University of Oklahoma – Distinguished Service Citation
  4. 1971: Oklahoma Hall of Fame – Inducted
  5. 1974: Oklahoma City University – Law Degree

Also, thanks to his $1.5 million generosity, the Oklahoma Blood Institute was able to relocate to the Sylvan N. Goldman Center in 1983.


Haim Saban: A Man with a Mission

Haim Saban

Born in Egypt and raised in Israel, Haim Saban made his mark in the United States.

He began his career in the music industry back in 1966, playing bass and managing a rock band called the Lions of Judah. He moved to France in 1975, working as a music producer. He wrote the theme song for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie under the pseudonym Kussa Mahchi.

His next stop was the United States where he founded Saban Entertainment in 1980. In the 90s Saban and his company became famous for the success of Power Rangers, Masked Rider, VR Troopers and Big Bad Beetleborgs, which were all westernized versions of Japanese hit movies and TV shows.

When it comes to politics and philanthropy, Saban says he is singularly focused on Israel. He helps politicians who he believes will help Israel, and he donates generously to many projects in Israel. In 2007 Saban gave $14 million to finish the children’s hospital at Soroka Medical Center. Saban and his wife Cheryl run the Saban Family Foundation, which in turn has supported the Friends of Israel Defense Forces, the Sephardic Educational Center, and the Jewish Community Foundation in Los Angeles. He also established the Saban Center for Middle East Studies and the Saban Forum at the Brookings Institution.

The list goes on. From humble beginnings to extraordinary success, Haim Saban is the man.

Making Ireland a Priority

irelandDuring his lifetime, Manhattaner Lewis Glucksman dedicated much of his generosity toward Ireland.  Together with his wife Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Lewis worked in different endeavors to promote culture in the country.

First, as NYU trustee, he was in Ireland bolstering academic relationships between Ireland and New York.  As such he even set up a home in County Cork and lived there for around 15 years.  At the UCC Lewis Glucksman Gallery he is a patron, and he established both the Glucksman Chair of Literature and the Glucksman Library and Reading Room in Limerick University.

Other ways he has bolstered culture and education in Ireland include his backing of the National Gallery of Ireland’s Millenium Wing, establishment of NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House and involvement in The Ireland Funds.

Glucksman endowed NY’s Glucksman Institute for Research in Securities Market, providing grants for students on bonds, equities, futures, etc.  And, overall, with his wife, the Glucksman’s have generated “tens of millions” of dollars for Irish causes.

Business, Medicine, Philanthropy: Henry Jarecki

Yale University

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.

Serving the World from the Military to the Environment

soldiersAs 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.”

The Environment

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.

Other Charities

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.

A Man for All Sounds and Seasons: Sidney Harman


The Harman Kardon 330 series of stereo receivers date back to the late 1960’s and continued to the end of the 1970’s. They were basic entry level receivers, few in thrills but excellent performers, typical of Harman Kardon products. In 2004 Harman Kardon brings back the 330 legacy with the AVR-330 audio video receiver. Photo courtesy of Engradio

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.”

Giving Back: Amy Fowler’s Philanthropies

botanical-gardenAmy Goldman Fowler is involved in a lot of charitable endeavors.  For example, she is a trustee at the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust and the Amy P. Goldman Foundation.

Fowler chairs the New York Botanical Garden Executive Committee and is a special advisor to the Seed Savers Exchange Board of Directors.

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.