$100M in Marcus Foundation Gifts

$100M in Marcus Foundation Gifts

Michael Jacobs

Atlanta Jewish Times Editor Michael Jacobs is on his second stint leading the AJT's editorial operations. He previously served as managing editor from 2005 to 2008.

Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus’ Marcus Foundation committed to $100 million in health care donations in Atlanta and Israel in less than three weeks.

During the American Friends of Magen David Adom’s annual community event in Boca Raton, Fla., on Feb. 29, the Atlanta-based foundation’s $25 million gift to MDA was announced. It’s the largest donation ever to the 86-year-old ambulance, disaster relief and blood services agency, Israel’s equivalent to the Red Cross.

“MDA ensures that the people of Israel have a secure blood supply — the blood they need when they need it,” Marcus said. MDA supplies 97 percent of the civilian blood in Israel and all of the IDF’s blood.

The gift will be used to build the Marcus National Blood Services Center in Ramla, a larger, better-protected, centrally located replacement for the current, 29-year-old MDA blood center in Tel HaShomer. The current center is vulnerable to rocket fire from Gaza and to earthquakes.

Bernie Marcus visits the site of new MDA blood center in Ramla.
Bernie Marcus visits the site of new MDA blood center in Ramla.

The new center will house state-of-the-art labs and blood-processing units in a secure, partially underground complex with sophisticated ventilation systems in case of chemical attack. AFMDA has now raised $72 million toward the $115 million target for the blood center.

“We are overwhelmingly indebted to the Marcus Foundation for their remarkable generosity,” AFMDA CEO David Frankel said.

Bernie and Billi Marcus received the Humanitarian of the Year award at the dinner at which the gift was announced, the Boca-Delray Community Event, which had its largest crowd ever with more than 350 attendees.

In addition to the Marcus gift, the event raised about $1.5 million, including sponsorships for several rooms at the new blood center and one mobile intensive care unit ambulance.

On March 18, Piedmont Healthcare announced a $75 million gift from the Marcus Foundation for the growth of the Piedmont Heart Institute and the expansion of Piedmont’s Buckhead campus with the establishment of the Marcus Heart and Vascular Center.

It’s the second-largest gift ever made to a U.S. community hospital.

“We are happy to participate with Piedmont in this exciting endeavor that will bring the best of cardiac care to the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia,” Bernie Marcus said. “The new facility will enable Piedmont to achieve goals that would have only remained dreams at the present location.”

In 2012, the Marcus Foundation gave $20 million to establish the Marcus Heart Valve Center at Piedmont.

“This new gift from Mr. Marcus represents a huge boost to the tens of thousands of heart patients currently cared for by our more than 100 Piedmont Heart physicians,” said Charlie Brown, the chief of Piedmont Physicians and a practicing Piedmont Heart physician. “Expanding our services and supporting that work with the best technology and most modern facilities will help us have an even larger positive impact on our patients’ lives.”

The $75 million gift will help kick off a larger capital campaign.

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