Meet Bernie Marcus, the 90-year-old billionaire founder of Home Depot, who is a major Trump donor and plans on giving most of his $5.9 billion fortune away

Bernie Marcus home depotPhoto by Erik Lesser/Liaison

Bernie Marcus cofounded Home Depot in 1978 after he was fired from his job at a home improvement business, according to Forbes.

Today, Marcus is known as one of the most influential philanthropists in the southern US. Marcus and his wife Billi funded the opening of the Georgia Aquarium, an autism center and Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Marcus was also one of Trump's largest donors in 2016, giving $7 million to Trump's campaign through outside groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Read more: Less than 1% of the world's billionaires donate to housing and shelter charities. Here are the top 10 causes the world's richest people give their money to

In July 2019, Marcus told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he would continue to financially support President Trump's campaign. As Business Insider previously reported, the news sparked outrage among many Home Depot customers, some of whom said they were boycotting the store and cutting up their credit cards in reaction to the announcement.

Marcus didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Keep reading to learn more about Marcus.

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Bernard Marcus, 90, grew up in Newark, New Jersey.

Bernard Marcus, 90, grew up in Newark, New Jersey.

Marcus was born May 1, 1929 to Jewish immigrants from Russia, according to Bloomberg. Marcus' father worked as a cabinet maker, but the family was poor.

Marcus attended Rutgers University and graduated with a degree in pharmacy studies in 1954, according to Bloomberg. He worked at two pharmaceutical companies, a local chain of discount stores, and a manufacturing company before entering the home improvement business as the chairman of Handy Dan Home Improvement Centers.

Handy Dan fired Marcus and his future business partner Arthur Blank during a corporate restructuring in 1978.

Handy Dan fired Marcus and his future business partner Arthur Blank during a corporate restructuring in 1978.

Marcus and Blank decided to launch a new chain of hardware stores to compete with Handy Dan, starting with two stores in Atlanta, according to Bloomberg. Handy Dan later went out of business, according to The New York Times.

The first Home Depots opened on June 22, 1979, according to the retailer's website. The stores were 60,000 square feet and had a much wider selection of products than traditional hardware stores.

Home Depot was not an immediate success.

Home Depot was not an immediate success.

The pair lost half the money they invested in the store during the first year it was open, according to Bloomberg. Marcus and Blank even had their children stand outside the store offering $1 bills to any passerby willing to take a look inside, Forbes reports.

Home Depot is now the world's largest home improvement retailer with over 2,200 stores in North America, according to its website. The company also said on its website that its revenue exceeded $108 billion in 2018.

Home Depot went public in 1981.

Home Depot went public in 1981.

Marcus, Blank, and early investor Kenneth Langone all became billionaires due to the company's success, according to Forbes.

Marcus now has a net worth of $5.9 billion, Forbes estimates. Blank is worth $5 billion, according to Forbes, and Langone's net worth stands at $3.7 billion.

Marcus served as the chairman of Home Depot's board until he retired in 2002, according to Bloomberg.

Marcus now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, with his wife, Billi.

Marcus now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, with his wife, Billi.

Marcus has three children, according to Bloomberg: He has two children from his first marriage and a stepson with Billi.

The Marcuses are noted philanthropists.

The Marcuses are noted philanthropists.

The couple signed The Giving Pledge in 2010, committing to give away the majority of their fortune.

"It has always been my belief that leaving enormous wealth for our children does nothing to stimulate their ability to make it on their own," the couple wrote in a letter on The Giving Pledge's website. "I too believe that all our efforts in creating the wealth that we have would give us a great deal more joy if we were to disperse as much of it during our lifetimes."

Marcus also donated $250 million to build the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, according to Forbes. It is the largest aquarium in the United States, according to its website.

Marcus is also a major political donor.

Marcus is also a major political donor.

Marcus donated $7 million to Trump's 2016 campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. During the 2018 midterm election, Marcus gave $7.9 million to outside groups including a super PAC run by National Security Advisor John Bolton, according to Forbes.

Read more: The billionaire cofounder of Home Depot plans on donating up to 90% of his $5.9 billion fortune, and Trump's 2020 campaign will be one of the beneficiaries

Marcus sparked a boycott of Home Depot in July 2019 after telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he would once again financially support the president in 2020.

Marcus sparked a boycott of Home Depot in July 2019 after telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he would once again financially support the president in 2020.

Marcus responded to the boycott in a Facebook post.

"It saddens me that our country has come to this, where I, as a private citizen, cannot express my feelings," Marcus wrote. "It angers me and it saddens me, but it sure as hell is not going to stop me. If you thought it would, you've got the wrong guy."

Trump also came to Marcus's defense, praising Marcus as " truly great, patriotic & charitable man" and calling the boycotters "vicious and totally crazed" on Twitter 0n July 9, Business Insider reported.

Read more: Furious Home Depot shoppers say they're boycotting the store and cutting up their cards after one of the home-improvement retailer's founders said he'd donate some of his fortune to Trump's reelection campaign

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