Albert Bildner was a successful businessman and philanthropist. Born in New York in 1915, he was educated through high school there. A 1937 B.A. graduate from Yale University, he served in the United States Navy during World War II as a Lt. Commander. Following the war, Mr. Bildner attended Yale Graduate School from 1945-46, studying Spanish Literature and Drama.
After operating a family-owned chain of supermarkets in Long Island, Mr. Bildner left in 1948 to start a chain of supermarkets in Venezuela for the Rockefeller Brothers (International Basic Economy Corporation), the first in South America. Subsequently, he became an importer and food business consultant in Venezuela.
Mr. Bildner resided in Brazil from 1959-76, first as President of Crown Cork and Seal do Brasil; and later as founder of his own business, DRURY’s S/A. That venture, started in 1960 with an investment of just $10,000, became the largest spirits business in Latin America with annual sales in excess of $100,000,000 throughout South America, Europe and Asia. In 1973 he sold the business to Heublein Inc., and remained as a consultant until 1976.
In 1977 Mr. Bildner joined the not-for-profit Business Marketing Corporation for New York City, where he served as President from 1978 until 1979. In August 1978 he was appointed Special Ambassador by President Carter to attend the Inauguration of the President of Colombia.
In 1982 he established and funded the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies at The Graduate School and University Center of The City University of New York. Since 1980, Mr. Bildner served on the Board of Visitors, now the Board of Trustees, of The Graduate Center. On May 26, 1994 he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the school.
Albert Bildner also served on the boards of numerous educational and cultural institutions including: Americas Watch, the Anti-Defamation League, Acción International, the Weitzman Institute of Science, Ben Gurion University and the American Place Theatre. For over three decades, he funded the Bildner Awards in Spanish and Portuguese Literature and a Travel Grant to Brazil at Yale University.
He spoke and read Spanish, Portuguese, and French fluently. Together with his wife Lin Bildner, they ran the Albert and Lin Bildner Foundation. Albert and Lin Bildner, along with their son Max, resided in New York City. He passed away in June of 2012.