Charles Bronfman

Charles Bronfman© Shai Skiff

A Lifetime of Giving

As Chairman of The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies Inc., Mr. Bronfman oversees a family of charitable foundations operating in Israel, the USA and Canada. The Philanthropies are committed to encouraging young people to strengthen their knowledge and appreciation of their history, heritage and cultural identity. This commitment is reflected in Canada through the Historica Dominion Institute and the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. Birthright Israel is the highly successful program in which a gift from one generation to another encourages young Jewish adults worldwide between the ages of 18 and 26 to discover their roots through a ten-day live-and-learn trip to Israel. In Israel, the Philanthropies initiated a major informal learning experience for children from kindergarten through grammar school.

Mr. Bronfman has spent much of his life as an active businessman. He retired following a 50-year career with The Seagram Company Limited. During that time, he was President of the Canadian subsidiaries; Senior Liaison Officer to the DuPont Company, and upon his retirement in 2001, was Co-Chairman of Seagram. For 22 years, he was Chairman and principal owner of the Montreal Expos, the first Major League Baseball Club to exist outside the United States, which was subsequently sold in 1991. 

Over a memorable 24-hour period in 1992, Mr. Bronfman 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 holds honorary doctorates from universities in Canada, the United States, and Israel. 

In 2009, Mr. Bronfman co-authored The Art of Giving with Jeffrey Solomon, President of The  Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies. It was awarded a Gold Medal in the Philanthropy/Charity/Nonprofit category of the Axiom Business Books Awards. Their second publication, The Art of Doing Good, was published in the fall of 2012.

In 2002, Mr. Bronfman and his late wife, Andrea, were awarded Honorary Citizenship of Jerusalem. They were the second and third North Americans ever to receive this honor.

Mr. Bronfman is a member of the Board of Trustees of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and was a member of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University from 2003 until 2010. He is a member emeritus of the Board of Harlem Village Academies, and is an Honorary Board Member of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. He is Founding Co-Chairman of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, the Historica Dominion Institute as well as Birthright Israel.

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 is married to Peruvian-born Rita Mayo, a Montreal resident for many years. Mr. Bronfman has two children, five stepchildren and nine grandchildren.