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Osher Family Part 2: Since his humble beginnings as a child of immigrant parents in Biddeford, Bernard “Barney” Osher has become a prominent philanthropist widely known by the institutions that bear his name. When you meet the man who still is grounded by the values instilled in him when he was young, you might not guess that he is a man of great wealth and influence. Osher is attentive, approachable, self-effacing. At age 91, he still works five days a week. He began his career after graduating from Bowdoin College by managing the family hardware and plumbing supplies store. He also owned and operated Palace Playland in Old Orchard Beach. In 1963 he moved to California and, with his sister Marion and her husband, Herbert Sandler, he co-founded “a small savings and loan association” that became World Savings, the second-largest savings institution in the U.S. A collector of American paintings, Osher also put a lot of effort into building the auction house Butterfield & Butterfield, which he purchased in 1970 and sold to eBay for a reported $260 million in 1999. Such success helped fuel the Bernard Osher Foundation, created in 1977 to support medicine, education and the arts. Osher also established the Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Fund. Barney, as he is known to friends, and wife Barbro have signed the Giving Pledge, joining some of the world’s richest people in dedicating the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. The Bernard Osher Foundation has four primary focuses including the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI) now offered at 123 colleges and universities across the U.S. and begun in Portland. Osher grew up with his four siblings in an Orthodox household. His father always assisted those in need. People from small organizations would “come around and ask for $1 or $5 donations or more, and my father would give,” Osher said. “When I took over the hardware store, I would do the same thing.” Looking back on his accomplishments, is Osher ever amazed? In typical fashion, he answers, “I say, ‘How lucky I am to be able to do all these things.’” #jewishmaine #osherlifelonglearninginstitute #bernardosherfoundation Thank you,@jewishnews_sf

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