Fashioning a Stunning Philanthropic Legacy
George Feldenkreis is Chairman of the Board and CEO of Perry Ellis International, Inc., a Doral branded-apparel firm he founded and transformed into a global player with annual sales of nearly $3 billion.
A man who was born in Cuba to Russian immigrants, and who’s been a Miami resident since 1961, Mr. Feldenkreis pursues his civic and philanthropic interests the same way he approaches business: With inspirational verve and enthusiasm.
It’s a modus operandi that surfaced long before Mr. Feldenkreis became a successful businessman. Back in the 1950s when he was a teenager living in Havana, Mr. Feldenkreis founded the Federation of Jewish Youth Organizations and also served as the group’s president.
After fleeing to Miami to escape Fidel Castro’s repressive regime, Mr. Feldenkreis began organizing fundraising activities for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. He was the organization’s first Hispanic member and has been on its board of directors more than 40 years.
Along with his ardent support of Jewish community life, Mr. Feldenkreis and his wife, Mariita Feldenkreis, have well-deserved reputations for backing causes linked to education and human services. The couple are members of the United Way’s Million Dollar Roundtable.
Since 1997 Mr. Feldenkreis has been a trustee at the University of Miami, where he endowed the George Feldenkreis Program in Judaic Studies. Mr. Feldenkreis has also been the recipient of numerous awards over the years, including the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Conference for Community and Justice’s Silver Medallion for `Service to Humanity.’
Following more than half a century of tackling a wide range of civic and philanthropic projects, the satisfaction Mr. Feldenkreis gets from pursuing those activities remains undiminished.
Earlier this year he traveled to Haifa, Israel, where the Rambam Health Care Campus bestowed the `Rambam Award’ upon Mr. Feldenkreis in recognition of his business and philanthropic achievements. Another 2015 event he recalls with fondness is delivering a Distinguished Visiting Professor Lecture for Johnson & Wales University in Miami in 2015.
“I am very proud of my philanthropic work,” Mr. Feldenkreis says. “I have always believed that if you make money, you should give back. I am very proud of the contributions I have made to the lives of people that I know appreciate it very much.”
With a law degree from the University of Havana, George Feldenkreis has tailored an, exceptional life for himself as a businessman and philanthropist extraordinaire.