“No matter how much we have accomplished, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. It is our responsibility to leave the world better than we found it. Think WE, not just me.”
An innovative entrepreneur and principled business and civic leader for more than 60 years, Ed Satell founded and served as CEO and Chairman of a multi-division media ecommerce provider headquartered in the Philadelphia region. His company has been well-known for a strong, supportive culture of accountability and dedication to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Ed has always believed, modeled, and taught “Think we, not just me”.
Today, Ed’s vision and energy are dedicated to the Satell Institute, a Think and Do Tank Dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility. In 2016, at age 80, rather than retiring, Ed chose to create this unique independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit grounded in free enterprise principles, and he fully endowed the Institute with $15 million, so there are no fees or dues to participate. The Institute is the leading CEO member organization focused on CSR. Ed’s vision for serving the greater good—think WE, not just me—continues to grow and thrive.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy
Decades ago, he established two charitable foundations to fulfill his lifelong belief that with success comes responsibility. The family foundation for his personal giving, and corporate trust for CSR projects have been among the quietest but most extensive in the region. Uniquely hands-on, Ed has long been known in the nonprofit world as a “thinking partner”, providing business expertise and understanding of best practices greatly valued by the nonprofit community.
Ed’s massive but disciplined CSR and philanthropic humanitarianism has created, founded and funded 67 projects, programs or initiatives with 45 unique nonprofit organizations. For impact, his giving is segmented into 5 targeted mission areas of need: disadvantaged children so they might have a better childhood; developing young people of promise; improving the community and helping meet important civic needs; supporting leading medical and energy research; and being a benefactor to his heritage. To list all his projects, programs, and long-term support initiatives would fill pages—but a handful of highlights about Ed’s exceptional philanthropic outreach with nonprofit partners are shown here.
Five Giving Areas
Children in Need
• Adopted, for more than 25 years, a struggling elementary and middle grades city school in Philadelphia. Initiatives included developing and funding the before-and-after school programs, establishing a one-to-one Mentor Program that involved more than 40 of his corporate staff each month, funding the award-winning choir, graduation, tech labs, library, faculty development, and much more. His corporate trust funded these programs.
• Established, at the Caron Foundation, Wyomissing, PA, the first endowed Chair in the nation for a substance abuse rehabilitation foundation, The Ed Satell Family Chair. This grew from an education program for children of substance abusers to learn about the disease, that they are not responsible for their parents’ or siblings’ problems, and how to cope for both them and their loved ones, all done in a safe setting. This has expanded to other programs helping children cope in difficult family situations.
• Funded numerous projects for the Jaffa Institute and Yemin Orde in Israel, The Boy Scouts USA, Junior Achievement and more in the Greater Philadelphia region.
Young People of Promise
• Created and fully funded The Satell Social Entrepreneur Internship Program at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. More than 60 UCONN college juniors and seniors spent twelve weeks in Guatemala in a highly successful social entrepreneur consortium that included Columbia, the University of Notre Dame, Duke University, and UCONN, all working with the “founder” of the social entrepreneur movement, Greg Van Kirk.
• Established the Ed Satell Doctoral Fellows Program, at the Technion Institute, Israel, to provide graduate school tuition in the sciences for those who couldn’t afford it at the request of Israel’s first Nobel Prize winner in science, Avram Hershko. This program enabled about 25 highly qualified graduate students to complete their multiyear graduate studies at the Technion, where many have continued to distinguish themselves in the field of science.
• Supported distinguished and highly competitive Satell Leadership Research Fellows at MIT, Cambridge, MA, a program sending 29 of Israel’s top PhDs in science, at the rate of five a year, to MIT for a four-year all-expense paid program as Senior Postdoctoral Associates. Several have already achieved notable success, including Gili Bisker (blood monitor implant) and Ido Kaliner (head of the Electron Beam Quantum Dynamics Lab at the Technion Institute), and Alon Dana, who earned his PhD while supervising the NHAF Lab, and went on to the 4-year Satell MIT program, returning to the Technion as a professor in the Chemical Engineering Faculty.
• Created and was the first funder of the Satell STEM Scholars Program at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. This highly competitive four-year immersive program exposed a cohort of 15 talented high school students to a wide range of opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. The program continues to be an international model of STEM education
• Founded the highly competitive Satell Life After College Success Program at Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, which helped hundreds of college students prepare for the workforce. The program became an official transcript notation.
• Founded the Satell Teen Fellowship for Leadership and Social Activism in the Greater Philadelphia region. More than 200 high school students over a 12-year period joined this competitive entry program for one school year to learn leadership skills and identify their own voice. The STF program included a four-day leadership trip to Washington, DC , including meeting with and Q&A with leaders from both parties; and a 10-day trip to Israel for each student.
• Established The Satell iTrek Fellowship Program at Cornell University, NYC. Select groups of Jacobs Technion-Cornell graduate students visit the Technion in Israel for an immersive 10-day experience with its students and its interdepartmental teaching and research methods which have produced much innovation and leadership in engineering, science, use of data and more. Satell is sponsoring many such groups over a three-year period. This gives them the opportunity for what the first cohort called a “life-changing experience”.
• Supports The Ed Satell Fellowships within the Interdepartmental Technion Graduate Energy Studies Program at the Technion Israel to provide doctoral candidates as research assistants.
Medical and Energy Research
• Sponsored Israel’s first energy program, The Satell Family Nitrogen Hydrogen Alternative Fuels Research Laboratory, led by Professor Gidi Grader at the Technion Israel. After two years of recognized pioneering success with alternative energy, this project sparked significant expansion in 2007, being the first part of the new acclaimed multi-disciplined alternative energy research and graduate education initiatives, uniting experts throughout the world under the Grand Technion Energy Program. This in turn produced startup H2Pro founded in 2019, after years of research. H2Pro is considered a world leader in energy conservation and emissions reduction and has attracted financial backing from leading investors including Bill Gates’ climate fund, Breakthrough Energy Group.
• Supports an award-winning research program in Autism Spectrum Disorder studies, at Hebrew University, Israel, headed by international renowned award-winning young researcher Professor Haitham Amal, at the Amal Lab. The findings of this cutting-edge research are making news across the globe for identifying the potential cause of Autism, the most prevalent behavior disorder in the world. Professor Amal was one of the Technion-MIT Post-Doctoral Fellows supported through the Satell Leadership Program.
• Established The Richard D. Satell Stem Cell Research Program, at both Rutgers University William Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, Piscataway, NJ and in Haifa, Israel, which specialized in genetic research, dedicated in honor of his late brother.
• Funded the Novel Encapsulation System for Stem-Cell Based Technologies at the Technion, Israel, which has the proven potential to solve many organic cancers. Professor Machluf’s “Nanoghost” hypothesis using the individual’s own lab-grown stem cells as safe delivery vehicles for targeted cancer drugs is now a worldwide phenomenon. This highly promising work of “Dr. Cell” is now in final human testing.
• The Satell Global Energy Research Initiative, both at Storrs, CT and Haifa, Israel, funding cooperative energy research, student, and professor exchange between the Technion energy program in Israel and UCONN energy program in the United States.
Civic and Community-Focused Initiatives
• Created and substantially funded programs, projects and initiatives with major Greater Philadelphia nonprofit institutions, including the Franklin Institute, National Constitution Center, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, International House, The Walnut Street Theatre, the Museum of the American Revolution, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the National Liberty Museum, and the National Museum of American Jewish History.
• Established The Satell Family Growth and Development Fund at Temple Sholom, Broomall, PA, to enable young families to become part of the welcoming Temple Sholom community.
• Funded the building of Temple B’Nai Israel, Easton, MD and The Satell Center for Jewish Life on the Eastern Shore.
Honors and Awards
Ed is reticent about publicity and generally only allows nonprofit organizations to promote it within their own organization rather than in the general press. A brief listing includes:
2003: Greater Philadelphia Association of Fundraisers’ Individual Philanthropist of the Year Award
2005: World Affairs Council of Philadelphia’s Atlas Award
2006: Temple Sholom’s Visionary of Sholom Award
2007: Walnut Street Theatre’s Edmund Forrest Award
2007: Gratz College Honorary Doctorate
2008: Cradle of Liberty Council’s Good Scout Award
2009: Caron Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year Award
2010: Technion Institute’s Honorary International Fellowship Degree
2011: Junior Achievement of Greater Delaware Valley’s Inaugural Inductee to the Business Hall of Fame
2012: University of Connecticut School of Business Hall of Fame
2012: World Affairs Council of Philadelphia’s Legacy of Leadership Award
2012: Philadelphia International House’s International Leadership and Vision Award
2013: Executive Leaders Radio’s CEO Philanthropy Award
2014: Support Center for Child Advocates’ Judge Lois Forer Award
2014: National Liberty Museum’s Heroes of Liberty Award
2015: Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival Leadership Award
2016: Caron Foundation’s Richard J. Caron Medal
2016: Technion Institute’s Honorary Doctorate Degree in Engineering
2018: University of Connecticut Beech Society Medal
2019: Junior Achievement International Centennial Legacy of Community Leadership Award
2020: Global Philadelphia’s GLOBY Lifetime Achievement Award
2020: Philadelphia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award
2020: Main Line Chamber of Commerce E. Karle Schauffele Community Award
2021: Mann Center for the Performing Arts Crescendo Award
2023: University of the Arts Hamilton Award for Excellence in the Arts
2023: The American Technion Society of the Technion Institute Albert Einstein Award, celebrating a lifetime of humanitarianism and philanthropy
Ed is a proud graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Business (where he was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame). He was a long-time member of the Young Presidents and later World Presidents Organization where he served as chapter president. He has also served for more than three decades on numerous nonprofit boards, both regionally and nationally.