Lebanese American from Southwest Detroit, alumnus of Kettering University and Wayne State University, retired Guardian Industries executive, current Dearborn Club owner Russell J. Ebeid remembers museum in his will
Dearborn, Mich. – Southeast Michigan businessman and internationally renowned philanthropist Russell J. Ebeid has made a $2 million legacy gift to the Arab American National Museum (AANM). This gift – the first and largest of its kind in the history of the AANM’s parent organization, ACCESS – was announced during the 43rd annual ACCESS Dinner last Saturday evening, April 12, at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.
The $2 million gift, specified in Ebeid’s will, endows the Museum’s Arab American Community Archive. Central to the mission of the Museum, this archive showcases the hard work and contributions of Arab Americans, while ensuring that the Arab American immigrant experience is an integral part of the larger history of our nation.
“I have decided to make this endowment because I believe in our community,” Ebeid explained Saturday night. “I believe in supporting our institutions and creating a loud and proud historical heritage for our children, grandchildren and the public for generations to come. I trust that this legacy contribution in my will can promote and enhance the Museum’s prestige, as well as honor our admirable predecessors. Therefore I hope to inspire and challenge my fellow Arab Americans, such as those gathered here tonight, to participate with me in this noble cause.”
“This is a tipping point in the way we engage our individual donors,” says ACCESS Deputy Executive Director and CFO Maha Freij. “This contribution is five times larger than any other individual gift we’ve ever received. We are so thankful to Mr. Ebeid for breaking the glass ceiling, for his leadership and for believing in us.”
When he retired in 2011, completing a tenure of more than 40 years, Ebeid was board chairman emeritus at Guardian Industries Corp. in Auburn Hills, Mich., and president of its Glass Group. As such, he was responsible for the company’s worldwide sales, marketing, and manufacturing activities that are performed by over 19,000 people employed in 24 countries on five continents. Guardian Industries is the third-largest flat glass producer in the world through its 83 facilities with annual sales approaching $6 billion dollars. Prior to joining Guardian in 1970, Ebeid was employed at General Motors.
A Lebanese American, Russell Ebeid grew up in Southwest Detroit. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 1962 from Kettering University (known then as General Motors Institute), a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering in 1968 from Detroit’s Wayne State University, and has received two Honorary Doctor degrees in Management and Public Service. He was named the National Arab American Business Man of the Year in 2003 and entered the Halls of Fame at Wayne State University and the National Commission for Cooperative Education. In 2010, he was recognized as the Trader of the Year for his work in promoting international trade. Recently, he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
In recognition of his philanthropic contributions to the Ebeid Hospice Residence, Ebeid Student Center, Ebeid Educational Hall, and Ebeid Athletic Center at Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio, and the Ebeid Family Scholarship Fund for disadvantaged Arab American students to attend his alma mater, Kettering University, in Flint, Mich., he was awarded the “Making an Impact Award” by ACCESS in 2008. To honor his parents, he provides scholarships to Lebanese students in their ancestral home. He was the lead sponsor of an Emmy-winning documentary titled Our Arab American Story and the co-producer of a medical film titled Ageing of Men.
Ebeid is the current owner of the Fairlane Club in Dearborn. He currently serves as a trustee for ProMedica Health Systems and Lourdes University. He has served as a director of the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan – an educational curriculum designed to teach and promote free market principles to the former socialist and emerging economies of third-world countries of the world.
He is a longstanding supporter and member of the National Advisory Board of the Arab American National Museum and the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), another national initiative of ACCESS. Through his scholarship program housed at CAAP, he supports the educational endeavors of students of color at Kettering University in Flint, Mich. and exemplifies the Center’s mission of strategic giving in the Arab American community.
The Arab American National Museum (AANM) documents, preserves and presents Arab American history, culture and contributions.
The AANM is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums; an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution; and a founding member of the Immigration and Civil Rights Network of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.
The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI, 48126. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday; Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is $8 for adults; $4 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under and Museum Members, free.