Atlanta, GA

The second richest person in Georgia is giving 90% of his wealth away

Luay Rahil
Photo: Unsplash

Before working from coffee shops became a trend, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank met in a coffee shop in Los Angeles and dreamed about a superstore that offers an enormous selection of merchandise that allows people to build and maintain their dream homes.

This small idea became 2,303 stores, making Bernie Marcus the 86th richest man in the world with a network exceeding 9.1 billion.

Who is Bernie Marcus?

Bernard "Bernie" Marcus is an American billionaire entrepreneur, co-founder of Home Depot, and its first CEO.

He was born on May 12, 1929, in New Jersey. His parents were Russian immigrants. After high school, he dreamed of being a doctor, but couldn't afford the tuition, so he worked as a cabinet builder with his father.

He is a pharmacist who is in love with retail.

Bernie Marcus earned his pharmacy degree from Rutgers University in 1954.

Then, armed with his college degree, he worked as a pharmacist. However, he was captivated by the retail side of the business, so he worked at many retail companies until he became the CEO of Handy Andy Improvement Centers.

He got fired from Handy Andy.

Joseph founded handy Dan Rashkow in 1947 as an Arrow Luber Company and renamed Handy Andy in 1971. Bernie Marcus was fired a few years later, leaving him without a job, but he still had a brilliant idea and rich friends.

He wanted to offer low prices on home improvement products sold by well-trained employees. So, he partnered with Arthur Blank, Ken Langone, and Pat Farrah to help him finance the ideas and create Home Depot.

Home Depot became one of the most profitable stores, and Handy Andy closed in 1995. Bernie Marcus served as Home Depot CEO for 19 years and a board chairman until his retirement in 2002.

He loves Donald Trump.

Bernie Marcus loves Donald Trump and was one of his largest donors in 2016. Center for Responsive Politics reported that Marcus donated $7 million to President Trump's campaign.

He believes President Trump deserves more credit for creating and protecting the United States economy.

He pledged to give 90% of his wealth away in his lifetime.

Bernie and his wife, Billi, pledged to give $2 billion of their wealth to 300 charities.

"It has always been my belief that leaving enormous wealth for our children does nothing to stimulate their ability to make it on their own. I, too, believe that all our efforts in creating the wealth that we have would give us a great deal more joy if we were to disperse as much of it during our lifetimes." Bernie Marcus.

He gave $250 million to fund the Georgia Aquarium, which opened in 2005. Most of his donations go to education charities, and only 12.4 % go to political causes.

He has three children and lives with his wife in Atlanta, Georgia.

The history behind Home Depot.

In 1978, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank were fired from Handy Andy Home Improvement Centers. However, they opened their first two Home Depot stores in Georgia one year later.

In 1981, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank took their company public and expanded their stores to Florida. By 1989, the company had reached its 100th store. Ten years later, they expanded into Mexico and Canada.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Home Depot used The Home Depot Foundation to support rebuilding the impacted areas. A few years later, Home Depot associates started to use state-of-art mobile devices to serve their customers better. By 2015, they opened three online fulfillment centers to support their new direction: brick-and-mortar stores with a powerful online presence.

Today, Home Depot's revenue exceeds $132.1 billion, and it employs 500,000 associates.

If you had Bernie Marcus's wealth, what causes would you support?

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