(1934 - )
Sheldon G. Adelson is Chairman of the Board and principal owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., the parent company of the Sands, The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Venetian Macao Limited in Macao, China. The building of a new Las Vegas-like strip in Macao, which could cost up to $11 billion, has caused LVS stocks, and along with it Adelson's wealth, to skyrocket.
Adelson, born in 1934 to Jewish Ukrainian immigrants, grew up in the poor Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. His father was a taxi driver and his mother ran a knitting store. At a young age, Adelson began selling newspapers on local street corners, and by the age of twelve he owned his first business. Adelson later worked as a mortgage broker, investment adviser and financial consultant.
Throughout his life, Adelson has built over fifty different companies, including the Computer Dealers Exposition (COMDEX), designed to bring computer manufacturers and resellers together. Today, COMDEX is the world’s largest computer trade show and operates in over twenty countries.
Adelson has received honorary degrees and other awards and has been a guest speaker at numerous universities including the University of New Haven, Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, Tel Aviv University, and Babson College.
According to Forbes Magazine, Adelson is the 5th richest man in the world, the 3rd richest man in America, and the richest Jew in the world. Adelson’s net worth is $20.5 billion. In 2003, his wealth was only 1.4 billion, but in 2004 his fortune increased by 750% when his company went public. Forbes estimates that over the past two years, Adelson’s fortune has been growing by $1 million every hour.
Adelson’s wife, Miriam, is a physician who specializes in treating chemical dependencies. She was born in Tel Aviv and grew up in Haifa. Dr. Adelson heads both the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Clinics in Tel Aviv and Las Vegas, which have treated thousands of heroin and cocaine drug addicts. The couple plans to open several more clinics in the near future.
Dr. and Mrs. Adelson are supporters of charitable causes in Israel and in Jewish communities abroad. They have been long time donors to Yad
Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority. The building of the Museum of Holocaust Art was enabled by a generous donation from the Adelson’s in memory of Dr. Adelson’s parents, and the members of the Zamelson and Farbstein Families who perished in the Holocaust. Adelson also recently made a $25 million donation to Yad Vashem, the largest private donation ever made to the organization. Adelson is also a member of the board of directors of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
On January 1, 2007, Sheldon Adelson established the Adelson Family Charitable Foundation, which is expected to dispense upwards of $200 million annually to Jewish and Israeli causes, the largest by far of any existing private foundation with that aim. The Foundation’s first gift was a pledge of $25 million a year to birthright israel, an organization that provides free trips to Israel for Jews between the ages of 18 and 26. This will double the capacity of the organization, allowing it to bring 20,000 participants to Israel in the summer of 2007.
Sources: The Venetian, Expo, Yad Vashem, Haaretz, Forbes Magazine, Answers.com, VegasBlog, JTA; Photo courtesy of Answers.com