Leon graduates from Rockingham High School, 1955. Credit: Leon Levine Foundation.
Leon Levine was a philanthropist and businessman who had a significant impact on his community and beyond. Born in 1937 in North Carolina, he started his career in retail at a young age, working in his father's small general store. He went on to found Family Dollar Stores, which became a nationwide chain of discount stores. Family Dollar would later be bought by discount rival, Dollar Tree, for $10 billion in 2015.
Levine's success in business allowed him to pursue his passion for philanthropy. He and his wife, Sandra, founded the Leon Levine Foundation in 1980, which has since donated millions of dollars to a variety of causes.
One of the areas of focus for the foundation is education. Levine believed that education was the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and empowering individuals to succeed. The foundation has donated to numerous educational institutions, including the Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte and Concord, North Carolina.
In addition to education, the foundation also supports a variety of other causes, including healthcare, human services, and Jewish life. Some of the organizations that have received funding from the foundation include, but certainly aren't limited to the United Way, the American Red Cross, the Levine Museum of the New South, the Charlotte Jewish Community Center, and the Levine Scholars Program at UNC Charlotte.
Levine's impact on his community and beyond has been significant. His foundation has donated over $300 million to various causes, and his legacy continues to inspire others to give back. In recognition of his contributions, Levine received numerous awards, including the Presidential Citizens Medal, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
UNC Charlotte Levine Scholars with Leon and wife, Sandra Levine. Credit: UNC Charlotte.
Levine passed away on April 5, at the age of 85, but his legacy lives on through his foundation and the countless individuals and organizations that have benefited from his generosity. He serves as a role model for those looking to make a positive impact on their communities and the world at large.
"Family Dollar founder and Charlotte philanthropist Leon Levine dies at 85," Charlotte Regional Business Journal. April 6, 2023
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