Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it certainly helps. Nothing endows or tears down pride quite like monetary accomplishments, and an impressive income allows individuals the power to give back to their community in an entirely new way. Ohio, you may know, has produced legendary industrialists like John D. Rockefeller and Frank A. Seiberling, and the state has continued producing impressive individuals to this day. How did they do it? It’s not exactly a secret:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Norma Lerner
Norma Lerner, pictured second from the left, has an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion. Born in the mid 1930s, this brilliant individual is the widow of Alfred "Al" Lerner. Al made his fortune by selling furniture and went on to become a shareholder (and eventual CEO) of MNC Financial. In In 1998, he purchased the franchise rights of the Cleveland Browns.
When Al died in 2002, his widow continued to work hard. She was a member of the executive committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the chair and President of the Lerner Foundation, founder of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, and co-founder of the Lerner Research Institute. Now that's one family that knows how to invest in their community!
2. George Gund III
Though this gentleman died in 2013, his legacy remains evident throughout Cleveland. Remember the Gund Arena? Its name ties back to this sports-minded businessman. George Gund III was once a high-school dropout, but his family has a net worth of $3.4 billion. It all goes back to George's father, George Gund Jr., who sold the family brewery during Prohibition and started investing.
George Gund III and his brother Gordon bought and sold three sports teams, and George discovered a passion for hockey. He was a chairman and trustee of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, a trustee of the USA Hockey Foundation, and he even produced and distributed movies.
3. Bertram Leonard Wolstein
Bertram Leonard Wolstein, known to friends as Bart and to the public as Bert, got his start in real estate development. His parents were immigrants from the Russian Empire and Bert was fluent in Yiddish. He began his career working for his wife's family's company, L&J Development, and helped build Great Northern Mall. His emphasis on relationships helped him go on to grow Developers Diversified, and later Heritage Development Co. During his career, he purchased an interest in the Cleveland Force Major Indoor Soccer League and hoped for ownership of the Cleveland Browns. He was bidding against Al Lerner, however, who bought the group's franchise rights for $450 million.
Wolstein would go on to donate the modern equivalent of $1.2 million to United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland, $2.2 million to Ohio State University, and $34 million to University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University to fund a medical research building. Now interred at Lakeview Cemetery, Bert is enjoying a well-earned rest.
4. Louis Henry Severance
Louis Severance was a powerful man, as evidenced by this impressive painting of his likeness created by artist E. Uhler Grumbine. He was a founding member of the Standard Oil Trust, though he was raised by his widowed mother Mary Severance in the home of her father, who was Cleveland's first physician. While working at Standard Oil, Severance founded a sulfur mining company. His wife, Florence Severance, the daughter of Standard Oil millionaires Anna and Stephen Harkness, died after only one year of marriage, and her personal wealth further increased his fortune.
He founded the L.H. Severance Scholarship in Pennsylvania, funded the L.H. Severance Gymnasium after a fire at the College of Wooster, and even helped build Severance Hospital in Seoul - the first Western-style hospital in Korea. Today, Severance Hall is named in his memory.
5. Donald E. Washkewicz
Donald E. Washkewicz is the former Chief Executive Officer of the Parker Hannifin Corporation. Though he retired in 2016, his history is quite impressive. He first joined the company as an engineer and enthusiastically climbed through the ranks. He'd go on to become the Manager of Research & Development, Vice President of the Fluid Connectors Group, and President of the Hydraulics Group.
Washkewicz was recognized by Forbes as one of the 100 highest paid CEOs in the nation in 2012, and his philanthropy is evident in Cleveland. The Donald E. Washkewicz Hall at Cleveland State University bears his name thanks to a gift of $20 million from him, his wife, and the Parker Hannifin Foundation.
6. Albert Fairchild Holden
Albert Fairchild Holden may not be a name you immediately recognize, but you must recognize the beautiful landscape of the Holden Arboretum. Albert Fairchild Holden was a wealthy mining executive who gained his fortune as the founder of the Island Creek Coal Company and Managing Director of the United States Mining and Smelting Company.
Albert was born to Liberty Holden, the silver-mining magnate and Plain Dealer owner, endowing him with a privileged early life. Young Albert put his upbringing to good use when he transformed his passion for botany into a public gift. He funded an outdoor museum at Holden Arboretum and created the Albert Fairchild Holden Trust to support new endeavors for years to come.
7. A. Malachi Mixon III
A. Malachi Mixon III, pictured on the left in the photo above, served in the Vietnam War as a member of the Marine Corps. Though his early life was undoubtedly impressive, he'd go on to help kickstart a number of influential Ohio companies. You may recognize one of his projects: Royal Appliance, the maker of Dirt Devil vacuum cleaners.
Mixon is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees of The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, as well as chairman of The Cleveland Institute of Music. What an incredible way to work on beautifying Cleveland from the inside out!
8. Peter Benjamin Lewis
The Peter B. Lewis Building in Cleveland is one of Ohio's quirkiest, but is endlessly adored by locals. It is named in his honor thanks to a $36.9 million donation toward its construction, but his philanthropy didn't stop there. He also donated to Princeton University, the Marijuana Policy Project, the American Civil Liberties Union, and sponsored scientific research in the medical use of MDMA for therapeutic treatments of PTSD. How'd he find such success? His father co-founded Progressive Insurance in 1937, and Peter went on to become its chairman.
9. Paul Joseph Dolan
Paul Dolan and his brothers are famous in Cleveland. Paul is the part-owner, chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland Indians, but his success stems from his start at his father's law firm, Thrasher, Dinsmore, & Dolan. He continues to serve on philanthropic and civic boards in the area, serving his community and creating a legacy.
These hardworking individuals have helped shape Cleveland in an incredible way. How many of these names do you recognize?