Bernard Marcus

Bernard Marcus

Newark, N.J.

Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus grew up in Newark and graduated from South Side High School in 1947. He went to Rutgers University where he studied to be a pharmacist. After graduation he moved from pharmacy to retail, eventually reaching a position as a top executive with Handy Dan Improvement Centers. He was fired after a disagreement with his boss so he and co-worker Arthur Blank opened a rival retailer, Home Depot. Three years later they took Home Depot public and became billionaires. Marcus retired in 2001 to focus on philanthropy. He has given away more than $1 billion. His most prominent gift was a $250 million donation to build the world’s largest aquarium in Atlanta, where Home Depot is headquartered. Marcus also funded and founded The Marcus Institute, a center of excellence for the provision of comprehensive services for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. Marcus donated $25 million to Autism Speaks to spearhead its efforts to raise money for research on the causes and cure for autism.