SCHWARTZ, GERALD (1940– ), Canadian businessman and philanthropist. Schwartz was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He received his B.A. and LL.B. degrees from the University of Manitoba and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. In 1977 he co-founded CanWest Capital, which later became CanWest Global Communications, and in 1983 he founded Onex Corporation, a worldwide investment company of which he remains the president and ceo. Schwartz has been active with more than 70 firms, among them Celestica, ibm's former manufacturing arm, and others in such diverse areas as airline catering, electronics manufacturing services, and automotive components manufacturing. His holding company, whose firms include parts manufacturer Dura Automotive and the Loews Cineplex motion picture theater chain, had revenues of $23 billion in 2002.
Schwartz has been generous in support of the Canadian and Canadian Jewish communities. In 1999, for example, he made a multimillion dollar donation to St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, which was used to establish the Gerald Schwartz School of Business and Information Systems. A long-time Liberal Party supporter, Schwartz was also reportedly the top corporate fundraiser in Prime Minister Paul Martin's successful campaign to lead the Liberal Party of Canada.
Together with his wife, Heather *Reisman, chief executive of Indigo Books and Music, Schwarz founded the Gerald Schwartz/Heather Reisman Centre for Jewish Learning at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, where they live. The Centre is designed to engage the members of Holy Blossom more deeply in Judaism and in issues of Jewish responsibility. Schwartz and Reisman have also endowed a lecture series at Holy Blossom – free and open to the public – to which many of the world's major figures have been invited to speak. Schwarz was also deeply involved with the 2004 organization of the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, which now oversees Canadian Jewish Congress and Canada Israel Committee activities.
In 2003 Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman were the first husband and wife team to be honored with the University of Manitoba's International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award.
[Mindy Avrich-Skapinker (2nd ed.)]