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Raymond and Ruth Perelman made an unrestricted gift of $15 million to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a gift that would contribute to strengthening the Museum's financial base and advance long-term objectives for expansion to serve its collections and its growing public. This gift has provided crucial support for the Museum's acquisition and renovation of Reliance Standard Life Insurance Building, named the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building in their honor by grateful trustees.
A Museum trustee for more than 30 years, Mr. Perelman served as chairman of the board from 1997 until 2001, and is currently chairman emeritus as well as chairman of the Executive Committee. Born in Philadelphia on August 12, 1917, Raymond Perelman grew up in the Feltonville and Olney sections of the city, and attended the University of Pennsylvania. He served as a flight officer in the Air Force during World War II and then joined his father at American Paper Products. While working in the family business, he began developing his own niche, buying properties, buildings, and companies in the Philadelphia area. In 1960, he bought Belmont Iron Works, the largest steel fabricator in the Northeast for the construction industry. The many additional companies he has acquired since that time are now consolidated under the Belmont Holdings Corporation.
Mr. Perelman has played a very active role with numerous civic organizations, including the Allied Jewish Appeal, the United Way, the American Technion Society, Temple University Hospital, the National Museum of American Jewish History, and the Albert Einstein Health Center. The University of Pennsylvania recently named the Raymond and Ruth Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine in recognition of their generous gift, and the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia also dedicated the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Theater in recognition of their support. Raymond Perelman is an active member of Beth Sholom Congregation and served as cochairman for the effort to raise funds to build the landmark Frank Lloyd Wright synagogue in Elkins Park.
Ruth Caplan was born in Massachusetts and grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. While attending college in Greensboro, North Carolina, she met Raymond Perelman. Following his service in the Air Force, the couple married and settled in Philadelphia. Ruth Perelman has contributed much of her time and abilities to not-for-profit institutions in the Philadelphia region. She served as the first chairman of the Multiple Sclerosis Fundraising Ball, and in past years has chaired the "Ball in the Square" on Rittenhouse Square and the Harvest Ball of Einstein Hospital. Mrs. Perelman has also been an active member of the Academy of Music Committee, the Board of Directors of the Rodin Museum and Garden, and the Women's Board of Jefferson Hospital, among numerous other charitable organizations. She also cochaired the gala celebration for the 150th anniversary of the Academy of Music. The Perelmans are avid art collectors, particularly of modern sculpture.
Anne d'Harnoncourt notes, "Ray and Ruth Perelman have done so much to bring the Philadelphia Museum of Art to this amazing new chapter in its history. Their extraordinarily generous support is in perfect keeping with the Perelmans' remarkable history of giving to worthwhile civic, cultural, and educational causes. Ray and Ruth's love of art and deep commitment to their hometown continue to enhance and, indeed, transform Greater Philadelphia."