June 1967—as the world focused on the Middle East conflict that became known as the Six-Day War, Ed Satell, then a young entrepreneur, listened at a fundraising event as an Israeli American woman spoke movingly about her husband returning to Israel to serve. “I couldn’t really afford what I pledged, but I knew I had to help and was so glad I did,” Mr. Satell said. “I never looked back. That moment stays with me, as it helped form my giving philosophy: Think WE, not just me.”

On May 3, 2023, Mr. Satell received the Albert Einstein Award in recognition of “his extraordinary leadership and abiding commitment to the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, the State of Israel, and corporate social responsibility.” The prestigious award is the highest honor bestowed by the American Technion Society (ATS).

“It’s an absolute thrill to get an award that has Albert Einstein’s name on it,” Mr. Satell shared. “He’s one of the most influential and admired scientists ever and had the vision to be among the founders of the Technion.”

Residing in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., and Jupiter, Fla., Mr. Satell served as a director on the ATS National Board (now emeritus), and as an honorary member of the ATS-Philadelphia Board of Directors. He and his wife, Cyma, support the University at the highest levels as Technion Guardians. For his many contributions, Mr. Satell has previously been awarded an honorary Technion Fellowship and honorary Technion Doctorate.

Mr. Satell had not planned to add another nonprofit to his philanthropic portfolio when ATS reached out to him in the mid-2000s. Professor Peretz Lavie, who soon became Technion President, learned of his interest in stem cell research and introduced him to the University’s top scientists in the field. As Mr. Satell’s appreciation for the caliber of research at the Technion grew, President Lavie appealed to him for other projects, most notably the University’s inaugural energy program, resulting in the Ed Satell Family Nitrogen-Hydrogen Alternative Fuels Reaction Research Laboratory, then a compelling cancer research project, Nanoghost cancer treatment delivery. The energy lab led to the formation of the company H2Pro. More recently, Mr. Satell became the principal supporter of the Satell Technion-MIT Global Leadership Program, to benefit the Technion’s most promising postdoctoral students. Through nine major initiatives supported at the Technion, his impact has been substantial.

“I didn’t choose the Technion, but fortunately, it chose me. It’s always been a wonderful two-way street,” he said. Mr. Satell grew up in Springfield, Mass., where, he noted, local leaders supported the synagogues, schools, and other institutions. “That allowed me to have a better life. I so greatly admired their generosity in helping the community that I committed myself to doing the same when it came to be my turn.”

Raised in a middle-class Jewish neighborhood in the 1940s, he had a newspaper route and a lemonade stand. “They were great experiences,” he recalled. “Each one came back to help me.”

As a college student at the University of Connecticut, he found he was attracted to business — and was good at it. Recognizing that many young women in that era were building hope chests, he started selling them (with their mothers’ encouragement and presence) quality cookware, china, and flatware sets, through installment payments. “The idea was to plan ahead, to save for things they would need to start a household,” Mr. Satell explained. Graduating in 1957, he grew the business, ultimately training thousands of college students each summer in life skills, marketing, and selling techniques. Mr. Satell transformed this business as market conditions changed and founded a diversified executive information and publishing company. His commitment to giving back never faltered.

Mr. Satell’s quiet philanthropy targets five major giving areas: disadvantaged children; young people of promise; civic and community institutions; medical and energy research; and his heritage. To fund his giving, he established a nonprofit corporate trust and the Satell Family Foundation, which have supported more than 60 initiatives with more than 40 nonprofits. Most recently, he created the Satell Institute, a Think and Do Tank for corporate social responsibility with a $15 million endowment, so it could serve its CEO members without fees or dues.

“No matter how much we have accomplished, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us,” he said. “It is our responsibility to leave the world better than we found it.”

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Edward M. (Ed) Satell
Ed Satell
Edward M. (Ed) Satell