Our Founder

Marvin hopes the foundation will bond the family across generations and help family members find their moral compass through shared learning, dialogue, and engagement around building a more equitable world.

Our Foundation is informed by the vision, values, and experience of our founder Marvin Weissberg. Throughout his life, Marvin was a keen, sympathetic observer of the human condition, a friend to those in need, and deeply engaged in his community and the world.

Marvin’s worldview was shaped by his early years in Depression Era New York and war-time Washington, D.C. As a teenager in 1940’s Washington, he encountered both the influx of energy and idealism of a world capital on war footing, and a provincial, racially stratified city. After graduating high school at 16, he enrolled in the University of Maryland for free (a privilege extended only to the District’s white residents). At 18 he entered the Army, where he built bridges—and traveled the country—as the war had ended.

In 1953, Marvin returned to DC and launched a career in real estate, where he was among the first to realize that Northern Virginia would play a central part in Washington’s economic future, acquiring land and developing one of the first office buildings in Rosslyn with much more to follow. He also immersed himself in Washington’s cultural, civic, and political life. He was a member of Theatre Lobby, Washington DC’s first racially integrated theater, alongside students from Howard University.

As an intrepid traveler and life-long learner, Marvin’s interests and commitments ranged beyond municipal, even national, borders. A founding board member of The National Democratic Institute, he traveled the world as an election observer, building personal bonds with international activists and political leaders. These experiences led to the Foundation’s development of the Weissberg Program in Human Rights at Beloit college in 1998.

In 1988, Marvin established the Weissberg Foundation to deepen his philanthropic efforts and enlarge their impact. The founding and early board members included his daughters, Nina and Wesley, his close friends Marty Heyert, Timmy Napolitano, and Wally Babington, and his beloved partner of 17 years, Judith Morris. As the Foundation enters its fourth decade, it strives to stay true to the deeply humane, humble, and fundamentally optimistic ethos that Marvin modeled.

On May 17, 2021, Marvin Weissberg passed away, peacefully, at his Annapolis home, at 94. Read more about his extraordinarily well-lived and exemplary life here.