Monday, October 15, 2012

Home Depot Founder Wins Philanthropy Prize

Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of the popular home improvement retailer Home Depot, was awarded the 2012 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership on October 11.

The William E. Simon Prize has been awarded every year since 2007 to business leaders who exemplify the principles of philanthropy. Recipients are given $25,000 which is donated to the charity of the winner's choice. Marcus, who co-founded the Home Depot in 1979, chose to give his earnings to the Marcus Autism Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

The award is given by the Philanthropy Roundtable, the country's leading network of charitable donors, at the request of the William E. Simon Foundation.

"William E. Simon Sr. was a legendary, caring philanthropist, and it is heartwarming that his family continues this great legacy," said Marcus in a statement. "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."

Marcus's business accomplishments are impressive, as he helped grow the Home Depot from a single store in Atlanta to a successful enterprise across the country until his retirement in 2002. His philanthropic deeds are also lengthy, including being the main force behind the funding for the Georgia Aquarium, and providing major contributions to medical research in the areas of autism and brain surgery.

"Bernie is strategic, effective and has high expectations for his for-profit and nonprofit investments," said William E. Simon Jr., co-chairman of the William E. Simon Foundation, in a press release. "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."

Recipients of the William E. Simon Prize must possess the ideals and principles which guides the award's namesake, William E. Simon Sr., the late philanthropist and Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Those ideals include personal responsibility, resourcefulness, volunteerism, faith, and helping people to help themselves.

Previous winners of the 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.

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