#38 Shari Arison - When Israel’s richest woman gives back

A wealthy businesswoman who believes everyone can and should perform good deeds, Shari Arison became a well known persona in Israel.

Israeli businesswoman and philanthropist Shari Arison (photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli businesswoman and philanthropist Shari Arison
(photo credit: REUTERS)
American-born Israeli Shari Arison is the wealthiest woman in Israel, and one of the wealthiest women in the world. Her estimated worth is in excess of $4 billion. Although her wealth was inherited from her father, Ted Arison, she did not fritter it away.
A tough businesswoman, she is also a social entrepreneur and generous philanthropist through the Ted Arison Family Foundation (which she established with her father) and Bank Hapoalim, in which she has a controlling interest.
Her father made his fortune through the cruise ship line Carnival Corporation, part of which is one of her largest assets. (Her brother Mickey received the lion’s share of the shipping line.) Arison Investments includes a number of companies large and small, among them Shikun & Binui, Israel’s largest infrastructure and real estate group, in which Arison holds the controlling stake. Shikun & Binui engages in large-scale projects that include construction, infrastructure, real estate, renewable energy and water, and operates both in Israel and abroad.
Others in the Arison Group include Miya, a global water efficiency and distribution company, and Salt of the Earth, Israel’s key producer of salt.
As a social entrepreneur, Arison introduced Good Deeds Day to Israel, believing that everyone, even people with disabilities, can perform a good deed – even if it’s only giving a smile to someone else. Within the framework of Good Deeds Day, the Arison Foundation absorbed Ruach Tova (Good Spirit), which links up individual and group volunteers with individuals and organizations that need their services.
Some years ago, Arison recruited then-president Shimon Peres to join a Good Deeds Day team in painting a rusty fence in a low-income Jerusalem neighborhood. Well over half a million people representing nearly all sectors of Israeli society sign up each year to do something for others on Good Deeds Day, a day that has been emulated in some 50 other countries.
In 2011, Arison launched Goodnet.org, an online facility that enables would-be volunteers to connect with organizations and business enterprises that work in certain fields of volunteerism to get together on voluntary good deeds that best suit the interests of the volunteer.
She has also written several books on doing good and giving of oneself to help make the world a better place.