About Charles H. Revson
Born in Boston in 1906, Charles H. Revson was raised in Manchester, New Hampshire, and came to New York City as a young man. In the depths of the Great Depression he founded Revlon, Inc., which he built from a single product line into a major international corporation in a decade.
In 1956, Mr. Revson established the Charles H. Revson Foundation, through which he donated millions of dollars during his lifetime. Most of these gifts were to organizations that served the Jewish community, medical institutions, and schools and universities in New York, his adopted city.
The Foundation was endowed after his death in 1975. His directive gave the Board a mandate to innovate, allowing it unusual freedom to chart the Foundation’s course.
In his tribute published in the Foundation’s first report, Judge Simon H. Rifkind, then chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, wrote:
“Two characteristics set Charles Revson apart from the ordinary run: one, creativity—in his chosen field; two, perfectionism—in all fields.
“His zeal to learn was prodigious. Having entered the world of industry, he exhibited an inordinate eagerness to explore his new domain, to learn its highways and byways, to learn how to scale its barriers, how to solve its puzzles and penetrate its mysteries. By the sheer genius of his imagination, by the drive of his personality, by the dedication of his efforts, he created a vast enterprise stretching around the globe, and his name became known in dozens of countries. He reached the heights of his chosen profession, but he never forgot those who struggled below.
“[The Board of Directors has] striven to approach our task with the creativity and belief in man’s capacity for improvement that distinguished Charles Revson.”