Archived // Philanthropist Spotlight
John Edward Anderson Celebrating a Man of Honor
By: Mimi Makabi
If you pair hard work with compassion, you get a rough template for one of Los Angeles' leading business and civic leaders.When we were considering who to honor as our Philanthropist Spotlight for this issue, we wanted to celebrate a remarkable individual who has shown exemplary leadershipwhich extends beyond the corporate community—and into the community at-large. We wanted to celebrate a powerful man who symbolizes the biggest heart, the greatest drive and the deepest inspiration for many generations to follow; a man whose life’s work has demonstrated outstanding civic and charitable responsibility, love of community, compassion for others, and above all, has a proven record of exceptional generosity. As a world leading entrepreneur and philanthropist, he has created a lifelong legacy that goes way beyond any boardroom.  He is a man that leads by example and reminds us all that the spirit of “hard work” and “doing the right thing,” is alive and well. He is “A Man of Honor.” He is John Edward Anderson.

There is no more aspiring example of the power of commitment, compassion and tenacity than that of John E. Anderson.

Since moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in 1936 to play ice hockey for UCLA, Anderson fashioned a multifaceted career that has crossed many industries, as well as the non-profit field. He received a B.S. from UCLA, and MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business (where he was a George Fisher Baker Scholar), and a J.D. from Loyola University School of Law.

Today, as president and sole shareholder of Topa Equities, Ltd., Anderson currently oversees more than 40 wholly-owned subsidiaries in diverse industries such as agriculture, automotive dealerships, insurance, real estate and wholesale beverage distribution.
Unpretentious to say the least, Anderson has always lived with a strong value system. Although he could afford it, he does not believe in purchasing extravagant symbols of wealth like private jets or yachts. Instead he has always remained focused on a prodigious work ethic, rising early every day to get into the office by 8 a.m.

Over the years, Anderson has also devoted much of his time, energy and resources to philanthropy. In 1987, the UCLA Graduate School of Management was renamed the John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA in honor of Anderson's contributions to the School and University. In 1995, he received both the UCLA Alumnus of the Year Award and UCLA Medal.

Together with his wife and fellow philanthropist, Marion Anderson, they have created the Marion & John E. Anderson Foundation and havedonated millions to charities including the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As a past chairman of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, a trustee and former president of Saint John's Hospital and Health Center Foundation and trustee of Claremont McKenna College, Anderson has also received numerous awards for his accomplishments and civic contributions. He was named Southern California Entrepreneur of the Year in 1987, Outstanding Individual Philanthropist on National Philanthropy Day in 1988 and Master Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002. In addition to receiving the 2003 Business Hall of Fame as The Business Person of the Year, he was awarded the 2004 Humanitarian Award by the National Conference for Community and Justice.

In an exclusive interview, John E. Anderson shares his views on—success, power, life and his lifelong commitment to philanthropy.

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