For decades, Stanley Chais was a deeply respected Beverly Hills investment manager and a major Jewish philanthropist. His Chais Family Foundation gave $12.5 million annually to Jewish causes here, in the former Soviet Union and in Israel. But then Bernard Madoff was arrested for the biggest Ponzi in history. Chais’ foundation had to close and suddenly he was being sued for $250 million by clients angry that he had invested their money with Madoff.
But on Monday night, some of Chais’ biggest Israeli beneficiaries remembered him for his years of charity. From the JPost:
Far from abandoning him, some 50 of the beneficiaries of his charitable endeavors took up the mantra that has guided his giving. Chais firmly believes that all Jews are responsible for each other. So the leaders of the organizations and institutions in which Chais vested some of that responsibility decided it was payback time; although they couldn’t give him back his money, they could certainly restore his dignity and pride.
In Israel, Chais sits on the boards of the Technion, the Weizmann Institute and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has supported numerous other educational projects and has helped establish start-up companies, especially those that give immigrant scientists an opportunity to realize their potential. His son Mark, who lives in Israel and heads his own venture-capital company, joined Chais in several start-up ventures.
Now ailing, the senior Chais was unable to attend the tribute organized for him at the Jerusalem Music Academy on HU’s Givat Ram campus. But his son was there to hear the outpouring of appreciation, admiration and concern for a man who has done so much not only for higher education and start-up companies, but also for hospitals, museums, cultural institutions and individuals who have been awarded scholarships that he established.