When Lewis Cullman (1919-2019) was a young boy he wanted to grow up and be a weatherman. As a young man his graduate studies in meteorology were cut short by WWII, but he never stopped loving the weather, eventually funding a private weather forecasting service in Boston.
After a brief stint with his family business, Lewis started his own company, Cullman Ventures, that acquired startups. It was a huge success and was sold in 1990 for $550 million. Lewis’s share was $300 million.
Lewis and his then wife Dorothy Cullman became philanthropists with a goal — to give most of their money away in their lifetimes. And that they did.
Among the recipients, too many to name, were dozens of institutions in New York City: MoMA, The Rose Center at The American Museum of Natural History, WNET, The New York Botanical Gardens, NYPL, Mount Sinai, Weill Cornell, and, perhaps his favorite, Chess in the Schools. He also donated generously to his alma mater Yale University.
When Dorothy died Lewis found love once again and in 2010 he married Louise Kerz Hirschfeld, the widow of Al Hirschfeld. With Louise’s bountiful good cheer, Lewis lived to be 100.
His life was celebrated on Monday February 3, 2020 at the New York Public Library.