Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Zachary Fisher began working in construction when he was 16. He and his brothers formed Fisher Brothers, today one of the building industry’s leaders, contributing some of the most prestigious international corporate office buildings to the New York City skyline. Over the past years Fisher has been a key part of the business’ success.

Fisher and his wife, Elizabeth, both always felt strongly about the young men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. During WWII Elizabeth served in the USO, entertaining thousands of troops while they were away from home. Zachary, unable to serve because of a leg injury sustained in a construction accident, assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in the construction of coastal defenses.

When still active in Fisher Brothers, Fisher decided to devote more of his time and energy to his country. In 1978 he founded the Intrepid Museum Foundation, hoping to save the historic and battle-scarred aircraft carrier Intrepid from scrapping. Through his efforts the vessel became the foundation of the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum, which opened in New York City in 1982. To this day Mr. Fisher has contributed millions of dollars to the establishment and operation of the Museum.

Intrepid hosts close to 1,000,000  visitors each year, of all ages and from all parts of the world. Numerous educational programs are hosted aboard her. 10,000 New York City schoolchildren receive supplemental science and history lessons there; hundreds more participate in Cadet Corps and Sea Cadet after school and summer programs; and at-risk high school youth are offered vocational training and counseling in the tremendously successful VoTech program.

Saddened by tragedies which cost the lives of military personnel who often leave behind spouses and children, the Fishers, through the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Armed Services Foundation, have made numerous contributions to their families. These began with a $10,000 contribution to each of the families of the 238 victims of the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. Since then they have given $25,000 contributions to many families who have lost a loved one in accidents involving the military. Hundreds of  families from all branches of the armed services have received this support. Each of these contributions was sent within days of the tragedy, accompanied by a letter from the Fishers. They wrote that while nothing can compensate for the loss of a loved one, it is hoped that they can take comfort in knowing that others care enough about them and their families to help them through a difficult time. The Fishers have given million of dollars in such contributions.

Believing too in the valuable and dedicated services of firefighters, who like our military place themselves in harm’s way to protect us, the Fishers have made similar contributions to the families of New York City firefighters lost in the line of duty.

The Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Armed Services Foundation also provides scholarship funds to active and former service members and their families. Since 1987 more than 700+ students have received scholarships of between $500 and $,2000, assisting in education which otherwise might not have been affordable.

In early 1993, the Fishers donated $500,000 for the establishment of The Fisher Rowing Center in Hubbard Hall, the Naval Academ’s new athletic facility. They also contributed $1.5 million for the creation of the Academy’s Family & Conference Center.

In 1990, the Fishers began the Fisher House Program, dedicating over $15 million to the construction of comfort homes for families of hospitalized military personnel. The houses, built by a leading architectural firm, are spacious and airy, with lots of outdoor space in addition to private bedrooms and common living and dining room and kitchen space. The houses are designed to provide all the comforts of a “home away from home,”, and to allow the families to support one another through their difficult times. More than 23 Fisher Houses are now open, and the Fishers were committed to opening a total of 26 by the end of 1996. In a similar effort, the Fishers have pledged $1.4 million for the establishment of a child care center at Camp Pendleton Marine Base in California.

The Fishers’ newest effort, then, was the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Medical Foundation, founded to fund research in, and work towards a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. In partnership with David Rockefeller, Chairman of the Board of Rockefeller University in New York, a new research center was founded to help develop a cure for this debilitating disease. Mr. Fisher and Mr. Rockefeller joined in a $4 million contribution to begin this center. Through the Fishers’ millions have been dedicated  to date toward this effort, and will continue  in the future.

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