Born in 1934 in Worcester, Massachusetts, during the Great Depression, Edmund Ansin was the son of Sidney and Sophie Ansin. Sidney, who was the son of a Jewish immigrant from the Ukraine, was the founder of Anwelt Shoe, a manufacturer of shoes. When young Edmund was seven years old Sidney moved the family to Florida, where he went on to invest in real estate and became well-off financially. Sidney and Sophie were founding members of Temple Beth Shalom in Miami Beach. Eventually Edmund was sent back to Massachusetts for prep-school, and went to Harvard for two years, then to the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a BS in economics.
When Edmund’s father passed away in 1971 he became the president of the Sunbeam Television Corp, a holding company for Miami’s Channel 7 TV station, WSVN. The station began to affiliate with Fox Network, and used news broadcasts from the newly launched CNN satellite network. In contrast to the way most independent stations operated then, Ansin decided to focus his station on news coverage. And even the news coverage was unconventional, shying away from the stoic presentations of staid news anchors, Ansin’s news programs were fast-paced, crime-lead stories with breaking news coverage and good-looking anchors. Under Ansin’s direction WSVN news became the market leader, bringing in $96 million in revenues in 2011.
Ansin’s giving is legendary, becoming the only person to have been awarded the United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Award for outstanding philanthropy in three different cities. He gave $1 million to build a radio station at Emerson College and a technical communications building. Together with Edmund’s brother Ronald, they donated $2.6 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston and their Youth Service Providers Network.