The Marcus Foundation
Bernard Marcus grew up in a tenement in Newark, New Jersey. He dreamed of becoming a doctor but couldn’t afford the tuition fees, instead working for his father as a cabinet maker while studying at Rutgers University. He became interested in retailing, eventually becoming a top executive at a Los Angeles-based chain of home improvement stores, where he met Arthur Blank, a regional manager for the same company. In 1978, after a disagreement with their boss, both men were fired, and by 1979, they launched The Home Depot, revolutionizing the home improvement business. Marcus was the company’s first CEO, serving in that role for 19 years. He then served as Chairman of the board until his retirement in 2002. Despite his inspiring career, Marcus never forgot his childhood dream of becoming a doctor. Today, he serves on the Board of Directors and as an active volunteer for the Shepherd Center, a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research, and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. In 2008, Marcus provided a generous donation which allowed the center to launch the SHARE Military Initiative, which provides treatment for Military personnel who have sustained brain injuries, along with diagnoses of post-traumatic stress and other mental health conditions.