About Us / Founders

Charles Bronfman – Chairman

As Chairman of The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies Inc., Mr. Bronfman oversees a family of charitable foundations in Israel, Canada and the United States. In today’s world, Charles Bronfman is probably best known for his role as Co-Chairman of Birthright Israel. This highly successful program, created as a gift from one generation to the next, provides an educational travel experience to Israel for young Jewish adults aged 18 to 26.

Mr. Bronfman was Chairman of Koor Industries Ltd., one of Israel's largest industrial holding companies, from 1997 to 2006. Prior to the December 2000 formation of Vivendi Universal, he was Co-Chairman of The Seagram Company Ltd. and had served as Chairman of the Executive Committee since 1975. In addition, he was Chairman and principal owner of the Montreal Expos Baseball Club from 1968 to 1990.

Over a memorable 24-hour period in 1992, he was honored by making the ceremonial first pitch at the World Series in Toronto, the first such contest ever to be played outside the United States. At noon the next day, in Ottawa, he became a Member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and later that evening was inducted as a Companion of the Order of Canada, that country's highest civilian honor. Mr. Bronfman has been awarded six honorary doctorate degrees from universities in Canada, the United States, and Israel. In 2002, he and his late wife, Andrea, were awarded Honorary Citizenship of Jerusalem, only the second and third North Americans ever to receive this honor.

Mr. Bronfman's life-long commitment to Jewish affairs led him to serve, from 1999 to 2001, as the first Chairman of the United Jewish Communities, the merged North American entity comprised of United Jewish Appeal, the Council of Jewish Federations and United Israel Appeal. He is an Honorary President of the United Israel Appeal of Canada and served as Co-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada until September 2008. He is now Honourary Founding Co-Chair. In 2002, Mr. Bronfman joined the Board of Trustees of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and in 2003, joined the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University. Mr. Bronfman serves as an Honorary Board Member of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation and sits on the Board of Village Academies, a network of college preparatory public charter schools based in Harlem, New York.

Born on June 27, 1931 in Montreal, Canada, to the late Saidye (Rosner) Bronfman and the late Samuel Bronfman, Mr. Bronfman attended Selwyn House School, Montreal, Quebec; Trinity College School, Port Hope, Ontario; and McGill University, Montreal. He was married to Barbara Baerwald with whom he has two children and six grandchildren: Stephen Bronfman and Claudine Blondin Bronfman – the parents of Alexandra, Samuel, Olivia, and Isabella; and Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and Andrew Hauptman – the parents of Lila and Zack. Mr. Bronfman was married to Andrea Morrison in 1982 until her untimely death in January 2006. His family with Andy includes her three children and three grandchildren: Jeremy and Marci Cohen – the parents of Danielle, Scott and Talia; Tony and Moira Cohen; and Pippa Cohen.

Andrea M. Bronfman

Andrea (Andy) M. Bronfman, z"l, co-chair of The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies (ACBP), passed away Monday, January 23, 2006 as the result of injuries sustained in a traffic accident. Through her leadership at ACBP and numerous other philanthropic endeavors, she was a shaping force in initiatives aimed at strengthening Jewish identity worldwide, with a focus on Jewish youth, the arts and education. In 2003, she and her husband, Charles, were named honorary citizens of Jerusalem, the first North American Jews and the first couple to receive this historic honor. Andrea Bronfman was 60 years old.

Known to friends and colleagues as Andy, Mrs. Bronfman also served as Founder and Deputy Chairman of The Gift of New York, a non-profit initiative which provided admission to New York City’s cultural, arts, entertainment and sports venues, without charge, to the bereaved families of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The program, intended to give solace to the grieving families, ran through the spring of 2003 and served 12,000 families.

In 2003, she founded AIDA: The Association for Israel’s Decorative Arts, a vehicle designed to expose Israeli artists to North American galleries and collectors, as well as to educate North Americans about decorative arts in Israel. Charles Bronfman established The Andrea M. Bronfman Prize for the Arts (“The Andy”) to honor his wife’s life-long passion for and support of the arts, and to create a showcase for Israeli decorative artists.

Andrea M. Bronfman inherited her love of Israel from her parents and her love of art from her mother. Her father, Hyam, was, for many years, a leader of the United Joint Israel Appeal of Great Britain. Her mother, Doris, was the founder of the British Friends of the Museums of Israel. Andrea Bronfman devoted much of her energies to fostering their interest in Jewish identity, community and meaning, both in North America and in Israel.

She and Charles Bronfman were co-founders of birthright israel, a program offering 18-26 year-olds their first Jewish living and learning experience in Israel. In just 6 years, almost 100,000 participants have benefited from this program.

“There was an undeniable force that seemed to emanate from Andy and make good things happen for many, many people,” said Jeffrey Solomon, President of ACBP. “She derived much of that energy from the young people whom she made it her purpose to serve.”

Mrs. Bronfman was on the Board of Directors of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Inc., New York; The Jewish Museum, New York. In her capacity as National Co-Chair of the Canadian Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth, Andy Bronfman created and directed a national cultural project, “A Coat of Many Colours: Two Centuries of Jewish Life in Canada,” a major traveling exhibition with a companion book and film. Her commitment to human rights and fundamental freedom led her to found the “Group of 35” – Montreal Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry. The “35s” played an active role in alerting both the Canadian government and the public at large to the plight of Soviet Jewry.

Born in London in 1945, Andy Bronfman moved to Canada as a young bride where she lived until 1998, when she and her husband, Charles, moved to New York City. In May of 2000, she was awarded Doctorate of Philosophy, Honoris Causa, from Tel Aviv University.

Andrea Bronfman is survived by her husband, Charles; her son Jeremy Cohen and his wife Marci, and their children, Danielle, Scott, and Talia; her daughter Pippa Cohen; her son Tony Cohen and his wife Moira; her beloved stepchildren Stephen Bronfman and his wife Claudine, and their children Alexandra, Sam, Olivia, and Isabella; and Ellen Bronfman and her husband Andrew Hauptman, and their children Lila and Zack; and her sister Marcia (Kappy) Flanders.