Lewis Cullman



Lewis B. Cullman — to quote former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite — "is one of this nation’s major and most generous philanthropists" — one who helped usher in a new era in U.S. financial history. It was in 1964 when Cullman and a colleague engineered the very first leveraged buyout (LBO) — with $1,000 cash, they bought Orkin Exterminating Company for $62.4 million. And a subsequent succession of deals resulted in his purchase of Keith Clark, a desk calendar company, that evolved into At-A-Glance®, the largest manufacturer of calendars and appointment books in the U.S.


Once Lewis Cullman sold the company, he embarked on the next, and most rewarding, journey of his life — philanthropy. To date, he has given away over nearly $500 million to the arts, sciences and education. And, almost without exception, he supported organizations with which he and his wife Dorothy wanted to get involved. Since Dorothy's death, limited philanthropy has continued with his wife, Louise Hirschfeld Cullman.


Lewis Cullman’s life story and giving philosophy are detailed in his 2004 memoir, Can’t Take It With You — The Art of Making and Giving Money (John Wiley & Sons). The book is not only a history of an explosive time for America’s economy and of how innovative business deals were done, but it reveals the heart and soul of a businessman who always valued people, and the positive effects of involved philanthropy in the health of society.


He also is the author of the booklet, How to Succeed in Fundraising by Really Trying, available free on this website. Based on years of experience raising money as well as being asked for it, the booklet is a handy and plainspoken guide for anyone soliciting money for a charitable cause.


By Lewis Cullman’s example, readers of Can’t Take It With You and How to Succeed in Fundraising by Really Trying are destined to come away with illuminating insights into how tough and imaginative business acumen can flourish side-by-side with social compassion and inspiring generosity.