Born in the Ukraine in 1959, Leonard Blavatnik moved to the US in 1978, receiving US citizenship several years later. He has a master’s in computer science from Columbia University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Just after the breakup of the Soviet Union Blavatnik began investing in Russia. He launched Access Industries in 1986, an international conglomerate company headquartered in New York. In addition to his many business ventures, Blavatnik has a stake in AI Film, and independent production company. AI was the force behind the successful Lee Daniels’ film “The Butler.”
Blavatnik was ranked as the richest person in the UK, and the 16th richest person in the world with an estimated wealth of approximately $18.6 billion.
Over the past 15 years Blavatnik, the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Access have supported a large list of philanthropic institutions. They are major supporters of the British Museum, Tate Modern, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and many others. Together with the New York Academy of Sciences he established the Blavatnik Awards for young Scientists.
Blavatnik also sponsors projects in Israel, including a 20,000 square-foot food bank and warehouse in Kiryat Malachi, Colel Chabad, in Israel.
In 2013 Harvard University acknowledged receipt of a $50 million donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation. The money sponsors life sciences entrepreneurship at Harvard.