On The Move
Samuel Tenenbaum Named President of Palmetto Health Foundation
Jun 25, 2009
COLUMBIA, SC - June 25, 2009 - Retired businessman and philanthropist Samuel Tenenbaum has been named president of Palmetto Health Foundation. He replaces Cary Smith who has led Palmetto Health Foundation since 2005 and is now retiring.
A native of Savannah, Georgia, Tenenbaum has been a Columbia resident since 1969. For many years, he was vice president of Chatham Steel Corporation, a local company founded by his grandfather in 1915. Upon his 2000 retirement from Chatham Steel, he sold the business and gave a significant amount of the proceeds from the sale to charitable organizations. Tenenbaum’s history of philanthropy spans more than 33 years, and many of his philanthropic efforts have helped put the Midlands of South Carolina on the map.
After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he assisted students from White Knoll Middle School in raising nearly $540,000 for the purchase of a new fire truck for Brooklyn Company 101 in New York. Following Hurricane Katrina, Tenenbaum led the Midlands’ relief operations and coordinated an evacuation center for New Orleans “guests,” as Tenenbaum affectionately dubbed the evacuees.
Tenenbaum remembers the incredible kindness of those involved with the local Katrina relief efforts. One night, when he dropped by a late night pharmacy to pick up prescriptions that needed to be filled for some of the victims, the pharmacist recognized Tenenbaum from TV spots as the person spearheading the relief efforts and offered the medications at no charge.
“Goodness comes back to you. Those who give benefit more than those who receive,” says Tenenbaum. “We have an obligation to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; the Golden Rule was drilled into me at an early age. It has driven every aspect of my professional career.”
Tenenbaum’s strong interest in healthcare and medicine began as a pre-med student at Emory University. The combination of his healthcare background, philanthropic nature and community involvement made Tenenbaum a leading candidate for the position of president of Palmetto Health Foundation.
“Sam will be a unique and extremely valuable asset as we endeavor to secure financial support for the critical work done by Palmetto Health,” commented Chuck Garnett, chair of the Palmetto Health Foundation Board.
According to Tenenbaum, working at Palmetto Health Foundation during our current economic times will offer him a challenge and an opportunity.
“Leading Palmetto Health Foundation will give me a great opportunity to move the organization forward through tough economic times and a changing healthcare industry,” commented Tenenbaum.
When asked about his leadership style, Tenenbaum had this to offer: “I’m inquisitive. I challenge myself more than anybody around me. You have to work hard, but also work smart.”
Tenenbaum sees similarities between leading a team in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. “You have to be effective and efficient regardless of what sector you are in.”
Tenenbaum looks to use the model of the Obama campaign to build on the successful Palmetto Health Foundation brand. He sees the Internet and social media as great tools to expand the base of the people in the community who support the work of the Palmetto Foundation.
Tenenbaum will begin his role as president of Palmetto Health Foundation on July 15, 2009. At age 65, he has told the Foundation that he would love to work as President of the Foundation for 5 to 7 years.
“I look forward to getting to know all the wonderful people involved with the Foundation,” says Tenenbaum. “We have a great team and a great Board. You put together everybody’s collective genius and I am confident we can accomplish great things. We can do it.
Tenenbaum will also be making a few trips to Washington this year. Samuel’s wife, Inez Tenenbaum, was recently sworn in to her new role as Chair of the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Ms. Tenenbaum was nominated for the position by President Barack Obama. “She has a very challenging job ahead of her, too,” says Samuel.