Charles Bronfman

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Charles Rosner Bronfman, PC, CC (born June 27, 1931) is a Canadian businessman and philanthropist. With an estimated net worth of 2 billion (as of October 2012),[1] Bronfman was ranked by Forbes as the 15th wealthiest Canadian and 165th in the world.[2]

His fortune comes from, Seagram Company Ltd. the family liquor business. He was the majority owner of the Montreal Expos franchise in Major League Baseball from the team's formation in 1968 until 1990. He is in talks to purchase the American soccer club Chicago Fire S.C.reference required

Early life

Bronfman was born in Montreal. He was educated at Selwyn House School in Montreal, Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario, and McGill University.


He and Michael Steinhardt co-founded the Zionist charity Taglit Birthright, a program which provides a free, educational travel experience to Israel for young Jewish adults. Bronfman is one of its principal donors.

Bronfman is Chairman of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies Inc., a family of charitable foundations operating in Israel, the U.S., and Canada. Bronfman is also responsible for the Charles Bronfman Prize, honoring individuals for their humanitarian contributions. The first winner was Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation founder Jay Feinberg.

Bronfman was a founding co-chairman of Historica, producers of the Heritage Minutes series of television shorts. It was at an early meeting of this foundation (originally the CAB Foundation) that he asked the members, "If television can use 30 seconds or 60 seconds to persuade people that Cadillacs or cornflakes are interesting, couldn't we also use that short piece of time to persuade Canadians that their history is interesting? You tell me how to do it, and I'll fund it." It was out of that discussion that the Heritage Minutes were conceived, piloted, distributed through cinemas and broadcasters across the country, and then confirmed as a major contribution of the Foundation—which a few years later became Historica, recently merged with the Dominion Institute.

In 2012, Bronfman announced a $10 million gift to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in support of the renovation of their concerthouse in Tel Aviv, Heichal Hatarbut. In recognition of his landmark gift, the new concert hall will be named the Charles R. Bronfman Auditorium in his honor.[3]


From November 1997 until July 2002, Bronfman was the Chairman of the Board of Koor Industries Ltd., one of Israel's largest investment holding companies. He is the co-chairman of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. From 1999 to 2001, Bronfman was the first Chairman of the United Jewish Communities, the merged North American organization comprising United Jewish Appeal, the Council of Jewish Federations and United Israel Appeal. He is a former Co-Chairman of the Seagram Company Ltd.


He is the son of Samuel and Saidye Bronfman; his siblings are Minda, architecture expert Phyllis, and Edgar. Edgar Bronfman, Jr. is his brother's son.

He has been married four times:

  • Barbara Baerwald with whom he has two children and six grandchildren:[4]
    • Stephen Bronfman and his wife Claudine Blondin Bronfman, the parents of Alexandra, Samuel and Olivia; and
    • Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and her husband, Andrew Hauptman, the parents of Lila and Zack.
  • Andrea Morrison from 1982 until her untimely death in 2006 after being struck by a taxi when she went out to walk her dog. She has three children from a previous marriage and three grandchildren: Jeremy and Marci Cohen, the parents of Danielle, Scott and Talia; Tony and Moira Cohen; and Pippa Cohen.[5]
  • Bonita Roche – Bronfman married Roche, an architect, in 2008 in New York City. They divorced in 2011, on amicable terms, celebrating their divorce with a lavish "divorce party."[6]
  • Rita Bronfman (née Mayo) – They married in late 2012.[7]








  • Bronfman, along with his wife, were awarded Honorary Citizenship of Jerusalem

See also