Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, discusses growing up in poverty
The son of Russian immigrants, Bernie Marcus originally wanted to be a doctor, but unable to afford Harvard Medical School, became a pharmacist instead. After being fired from his job at a hardware store, Marcus and his coworker Arthur Blank founded a rival store, Home Depot. Marcus is a dedicated philanthropist, primarily funding programs involving Jewish life, as well as mental health, education, and public affairs.
In this video, Marcus tells the story of how his mother and father migrated to the United States from Russia, settled in Newark, and Americanized themselves by learning English while maintaining an orthodox house. Despite his current billionaire status, Marcus reveals that he grew up with very little, unable even to afford Sunday school. Although he strayed from his parents’ orthodoxy, he holds that it is “important to believe in something other than yourself.”