Earlier this year, Forbes published its annual list Forbes 400, which ranks the richest Americans by their net worths. The 400 richest Americans saw their combined wealth increase 40% over the last year, to $4.5 trillion. Almost all are richer than last year.
Today, I will uncover the richest person in Potomac, Maryland.
According to Forbes Magazine, seven billionaires on the Forbes 400 consider Maryland home, but none is wealthier than Mitchell Rales, who lives in Potomac, Maryland, with a net worth of $7.5 billion. He is the 117th richest person in the country.
Who is Mitchell Rales?
Mitchell Rales is an American billionaire business executive and a collector of modern art. He co-founded Danaher Corporation in 1984 and is the chairman of its executive committee. He was also President of the Company from 1984 to 1990.
Mitchell Rales was born in 1956 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mitchell is one of four sons of Ruth and Norman Rales.
Norman Rales grew up in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in New York City during the Great Depression. He overcame many obstacles and became a successful entrepreneur selling building supplies. Norman had four sons, Mitchell, Joshua, Steven, and Stewart.
Mitchell Rales grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, and graduated from Walt Whitman High School in 1974. He earned a degree in business administration at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1978 and worked at his father's company.
In 1979, Mitchell left his father's company to find Equity Group Holdings with Steven Rales. In 1984, Steven and Mitchel founded Danaher and named the company after a trout stream in Montana. Danaher is an industrial conglomerate that makes water quality tests and voting machines.
In 2016, Danaher spun off its industrial technologies, measurement, and petroleum businesses into Fortive Corporation. In addition, both brothers expanded their empire by acquiring other companies.
Besides his role in Danaher, Mitchell Rales is also a major shareholder in Colfax, a fluid handling systems maker, and Fortive, which makes industrial manufacturing products.
He and his brother transferred Danaher shares worth more than $1.5 billion to their charitable foundations.
The Giving Pledge
Mitchell Rales and his wife Emily came from middle-class backgrounds, which inspired them to join the hundreds of individuals and families who have pledged to give most of their wealth to charity. In 2019, they released a statement that stated the following.
"We are fortunate to have the opportunity to reallocate our wealth in order to make the world a better place. To date, we have given more than two billion dollars to support our two main philanthropic causes: the arts and education. The arts not only enrich our lives but are essential to promoting understanding in our society. And the value of education continues to be one of the most important priorities that we feel compelled to champion."
He also gave a $5 million gift from the Mitchell P. Rales Family Foundation to support the Farmer School of Business at Miami University, Oxford.
Bloomberg reported that Mitchell Rales could buy 5.04 million troy ounces of gold and 123 million barrels of crude oil.
Mitchell and his wife Emily Wei Rales created the Glenstone Museum to house their private collection of postwar art, considered one of the world's best in Potomac, Maryland. It includes paintings, sculptures, and both indoor and outdoor installations.
If you had his money, what causes would you support?