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PHILANTHROPY

ISRAEL: Dr Howard and Lottie Marcus donate £308,000,000 to Ben-Gurion University 

NEW ISRAELI RECORD the American Associates of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) announced a substantial donation of approximately £308m from the estate of Dr. Howard and Lottie Marcus from San Diego, California. Lottie Marcus died this past December at age 99, just two months short of her 100th birthday, while Howard died in 2014 at the incredible age of 104.

The legacy gift is believed to be the largest bequest on behalf of an Israeli university and may be the largest donation ever made to benefit any institution in the State of Israel. The funds will be used to establish a permanent endowment in support of the university, which will yield endowment assets that more than double the size of its current endowment. A substantial portion of the funds will be earmarked for BGU’s world- renowned work in water research at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, respected as one of Israel’s leading water institutes.

“Both Howard and Lottie Marcus lost nearly all members of their German- Jewish families, families that were annihilated by the Nazi Holocaust. Their legacy is a triumph over the forces of evil that very nearly erased them from the face of the earth more than 70 years ago,” says AABGU President Lloyd Goldman.

Ronald S. Lauder (Copyright Lauderfoundation.com)

The Gandel family (© theaustralian.com)

Howard and Lottie gained their fortune as a result of a special relationship with the legendary investor, Benjamin Graham. Lottie worked as the head of the secretarial pool at a major Wall Street firm. She met Graham through the Wall Street Ski Club in the 1930s. They became lifelong friends and in the early 1960s, Graham told Howard and Lottie about a student of his at Columbia Business School, a young man he thought a prodigy. He invited that student, Warren Buffett, to meet with Howard and Lottie and they put most of their nest egg in Buffett’s new partnership, which years later became Berkshire Hathaway.

WARREN BUFFETT said, “I met Howard and Lottie Marcus more than fifty years ago through a mutual friend, my lifetime hero Ben Graham. We hit it off and they joined my investment partnership. Having known them well, it comes as no surprise that they have elected to use their key financial success to enhance the lives and futures of thousands of young Israeli people.”

In 2004, Lottie and Howard Marcus were both awarded honorary doctoral degrees by the BGU in recognition of their pioneering spirit, exceptional philanthropy and unstinting dedication to Israel and to the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.