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Home Depot Co-Founder Bernie Marcus Wins Major Award for Philanthropy


$250,000 prize will be donated to Marcus Autism Center and Piedmont School of Autism

PALM BEACH, Fla., Oct. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bernie Marcus accepted the 2012 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership on October 11 during The Philanthropy Roundtable's Annual Meeting.

"William E. Simon Sr. was a legendary, caring philanthropist, and it is heartwarming that his family continues this great legacy," said Marcus. "I have never done philanthropy with the objective of qualifying for awards, and it was a surprising and humbling experience to find out I had won this prestigious honor."

"Bernie Marcus' outstanding and path-breaking accomplishments in business and philanthropy more than meet the ideals that the Simon Prize was established to highlight," said William E. Simon Jr., co-chairman of the William E. Simon Foundation. "Bernie is strategic, effective and has high expectations for his for-profit and nonprofit investments. Like our father, Bernie sets high standards and settles for nothing less. We are thrilled Bernie is the recipient of the 2012 William E. Simon Prize."

The William E. Simon Prize includes an award of $250,000 is donated to the charities of the winner's choice. "I truly appreciate the financial component that comes with the William E. Simon Prize, because I know all the good it will do," Marcus announced. "Autism has a devastating economic and emotional impact on families. I am giving a portion of the prize to the Marcus Autism Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, where more than 5,500 children a year with autism spectrum disorders are helped by their programs. It will specifically be used for early detection and intervention. The other portion of the prize will go to the Piedmont School of Autism, a new and innovative educational facility that is designed to help children succeed educationally and emotionally."

In 1979, Marcus co-founded a home improvement store in Atlanta. The Home Depot grew from that single store to a spectacular entrepreneurial success. Marcus led the company for more than two decades, serving as chairman until his retirement in 2002.

Marcus' giving takes many forms:

  • He was the driving force behind the Georgia Aquarium—the largest in the world—which has generated roughly $6 billion for the greater Atlanta metropolitan area.
  • He led the creation of the Israel Democracy Institute, a nonpartisan, Jerusalem-based think tank.
  • With a focus on the health of children and military veterans, he has long supported medical research, making major contributions in the areas of autism and neurological, spinal, and brain injury.
  • His most recent major endeavor is the Job Creators Alliance, a group of business leaders seeking to promote and preserve free enterprise for succeeding generations.

"I believe in free enterprise," said Marcus. "It's what made our success possible. And I want to ensure its strength, so that free enterprise can provide the opportunity for success to millions of other people."

The William E. Simon Prize honors the ideals and principles which guided the many philanthropic initiatives of William E. Simon Sr., the late financier, philanthropist, and Secretary of the Treasury. These ideals include personal responsibility, resourcefulness, volunteerism, scholarship, individual freedom, faith in God, and helping people to help themselves. The purpose of the prize is to highlight the power of philanthropy to promote positive change and to inspire others to support charities that achieve genuine results.

Previous winners of the William E. Simon Prize are Philip and Nancy Anschutz, Ben Carson, S. Truett Cathy, Raymond G. Chambers, Richard and Helen DeVos, Frank J. Hanna III, Roger Hertog, Charles G. Koch, David Robinson, the late John M. Templeton, and the late John T. Walton.

Since 2007, The Philanthropy Roundtable has administered the prize at the request of the William E. Simon Foundation. The Roundtable is America's leading network of charitable donors seeking to strengthen our free society, uphold donor intent, and protect the freedom to give. Its members include individual philanthropists, families, and private foundations.

  • Profile of Marcus in the latest issue of Philanthropy: click here.
  • More information on the William E. Simon Prize and tribute video hosted by Cheers and Pixar star John Ratzenberger: click here.

Contact: Sue Santa
Phone: (202) 822-8333

SOURCE The Philanthropy Roundtable