The Fisher’s Legacy
Mr. Fisher’s Legacy
Born in Pittsburgh in 1908 to Russian Jewish immigrants, Max Fisher z”l grew up in Salem, Ohio, where his father owned a clothing store. He attended The Ohio State University on a football scholarship. In 1930 he entered the oil business for Keystone Oil, eventually building a thriving concern in oil and real estate. The oil business was later sold to Aurora Gasoline, a company Fisher would chair for 27 years. Following the sale of Aurora to Marathon Oil, Fisher invested his fortune in real estate. He became a leader in the Detroit Jewish community, the national Jewish scene, and supporter of nonsectarian charities.
A statesman and philanthropist, some of Mr. Fisher’s civic activities included: Founding Chairman of Detroit Renaissance, Founding member and Chairman of New Detroit, member of the Board of Sinai Hospital, Detroit Institute of Arts, Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce and served both as President and Chairman of the United Foundation of Detroit (now known as the United Way for Southeastern Michigan).
During his lifetime Mr. Fisher received more than 50 awards including the Presidential Citizens Award, presented by Ronald Reagan, the Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award of the United Way of America, William Booth Award by the Salvation Army, Distinguished Citizen Award from Wayne State University and the Ben-Gurion Centennial Medal from the State of Israel Bonds.
Mrs. Fisher’s Legacy
From their first date at the London Chop House in Detroit, Marjorie and Max were partners in life, love, family and philanthropy. Married for 52 years, Marjorie was a quiet partner in the family's giving. She would often encourage Max in critical moments of decision saying 'We have to give more.'
Born November 5, 1923 in Louisville, Kentucky, Marjorie Switow Fisher has spent her life nurturing her family and teaching the growing generations, in her words . . . "You are here for a reason - to help other people. Everything in life is based on love and what you can do to help others. The rest is just cream - sometimes sour cream - but it's all cream."
After Max's death in 2005 and the creation of the permanent endowment to fuel the Foundation, Marjorie assumed the role of Founding Chair.
For nearly six years she led quietly while her five children crafted the organization's values, vision, mission and initial grant partnerships. During her tenure as Chair, the Foundation committed more than $70 million in grants with nearly 50 partners on three continents and became recognized within the philanthropic sector as an effective family foundation with heart.
Her belief in the next generation of the family led her to host the first ever Fisher family philanthropy retreat in 2010. Since then, all four generations of the family work together with grant partners to advance their shared mission.
Throughout her leadership of the Foundation, Marjorie infused the organization with her core belief in the importance of working together steadfastly committed to the mission while remaining flexible to allow for new insights and ideas to rise.
In 2011 Marjorie transitioned from the Founding Chair role to allow leadership to transfer to the next generation. Today Marjorie continues to be an active member of the Board while advancing her own philanthropic giving efforts, enjoying the company of close friends and loving her newest grandchild, Francesca.
"All giving starts with your heart." Marjorie S. FisherMr. Fisher’s archives