October 16, 2014
Bernie Marcus is chairman of the board of The Marcus Foundation, which focuses on Jewish causes, children, medical research, free enterprise and the community.
Mr. Marcus co-founded The Home Depot, Inc., the world's largest home improvement retailer, and served as chairman of the board until his retirement in 2002. His company revolutionized the home improvement business with its warehouse concept.
Encouraged by his mother to "always give back," Mr. Marcus' contributions are given with the expectation that they will make a significant difference. For instance, the Georgia Aquarium, which was dedicated to the people of Georgia and the associates, customers and shareholders of The Home Depot, is the largest aquarium in the world with over 11 million visitors since its opening. Its construction in downtown Atlanta has not only brought millions of people to the area, it has generated more than $6 billion in construction and development in the area.
In 2009, The Marcus Foundation presented a $20 million gift to Grady Health System to improve emergency care to trauma and acute neurological injury victims throughout Georgia. The Marcus Stroke & Neuroscience Center at Grady and The Marcus Trauma Center at Grady expand hospital space for trauma and brain injury victims and improve time-dependent therapies for stroke and acute neurological emergencies.
In conjunction with The Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Mr. Marcus announced the creation of Project Share, renowned for treatment of brain and spinal injuries. To ensure that members of the military and veterans get diagnosed and cared for without financial constraint, the Marcus Foundation underwrites the housing, transportation and care costs of any military personnel with brain or spinal injuries who are sent to Shepherd. Bernie and his wife Billi were inducted into the National Spinal Cord Injury Association's "Hall of Fame."
In 2008, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta joined forces with The Marcus Institute, founded in 1991, to create the Marcus Autism Center, which offers expanded services for children with autism. Mr. Marcus and The Home Depot broke ground on the Marcus/Home Depot Hospitality House to assist families who travel to Atlanta for medical care.
As part of a public/private partnership with the State of Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology broke ground on the $90 million Marcus Nanotechnology Building. Comprised of 30,000 square feet of cleanroom space, the building will become one of the nation's largest cleanroom facilities and the first one designed to provide significant space for research that applies nanoscience and nanotechnology to the emerging field of biotechnology. Work in the Marcus Nanotechnology Building will focus on creating innovative systems that include new approaches to drug delivery, cancer detection and treatment, DNA damage repair, and the detection and analysis of plaque formation for artery and cardiac disease prevention.
Mr. Marcus considers the founding of the Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem among his most important efforts. This non-partisan and non-political think tank deals with the complex issues facing the Israeli democratic society.
Recognizing the urgent need for job creation in the US, Mr. Marcus funded and founded Job Creators Alliance (http://www.jobcreatorsalliance.org), a group of current and retired CEOs and entrepreneurs who have come together to preserve the free enterprise system for succeeding generations. JCA members are spokespeople for a national marketing campaign to educate Americans on what it takes to make jobs, from a business perspective, the benefits of our free market society and how vital it is for America's future.
Mr. Marcus serves in numerous leadership roles including The Shepherd Center, The City of Hope, The Marcus Jewish Community Center, and Business Executives for National Security.
Bernie and his wife Billi received The Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, given to individuals who have served with distinction in public life. Mr. Marcus was named the inaugural recipient of Inc. 500’s Bernard A. Goldhirsh Award, inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame, and has received the USO Patriot Award, the SeaKeeper Award for promoting the restoration & protection of the world’s oceans, Jewish Federation of Great Atlanta’s Lifetime of Achievement Award, the Golden Plate Award from the Academy of Achievement, Hearthstone Builder Humanitarian Award as one of Builder Magazine Innovators, the Anti-Defamation League’s America’s Democratic Legacy Award and recognized with the TiE Award for his Lifetime Contribution to Entrepreneurship.
A native of Newark, New Jersey, Mr. Marcus received his B.S. degree in Pharmacy from Rutgers University.