As a successful businessman, Ted Arison felt obligated to be engaged in public activities benefitting the community, and contributed funds to various causes in both the United States and Israel.
For this goal, in 1981 he established the Ted Arison Family Foundation in Miami, together with his daughter Shari Arison, through which they effectively and continuously propelled his philanthropic endeavors. Shari Arison heightened the foundation's activities in Israel, and from 1993 she created its operational framework that advances a culture of giving and social involvement in a variety of fields. Today, Jason Arison, the third generation to the Arison family's legacy of giving, is the Chairman of The Ted Arison Family Foundation, one of the leading private family foundation in Israel.
Ted Arison's story begins in Tel Aviv of the 1920s, when his parents, Meir and Vera Arisohn, moved from Zichron Ya'acov to the newly evolving city. When he completed his studies at Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium in Tel Aviv, he set out to be further educated in the fields of economics and commerce at the Amercian University of Beirut. Upon his return to Israel after several years, he was drafted by the Haganah Jewish Brigade to serve the British Army in 1942. Based on his vast training as a combat signaller, has was soon asked by the Haganah high command to create the force's first communications units, and Ted's life story became strongly connected to the Armor Crops.
After the War of Independence, Ted completed his service in the IDF and built his home in Tel Aviv. In 1954, he moved to New York with his wife Mina and his firstborn boy Micky, where his daughter Shari was born. The family moved to Miami after nine years, and Ted married his second wife Lin. In 1972, he joined forces with the Israeli-American businessman Meshulam Riklis, which he knew from his early years in high school, and together they created Carnival Cruise Line. The company acquired a passenger ship and transformed it into the world's first cruise ship, named Mardi Gras. Ted made his fortune in the shipping industry.
Ted Arison's long-term vision, amplified by his managerial skill, formed the foundation for his massive-scale success and for growing Carnival Cruise into an empire - the world's leading cruise company. Through Carnival, Ted was able to combine together his love for the open sea, art, and aesthetics, with his deep desire to bring happiness to people, even in the simplest and most mundane levels. He would always say that he his fortune came from making people's dreams come true.
In 1991, Ted returned to Israel and founded Arison Investments, which later acquired the controlling core at Bank Hapoalim, Shikun & Binui, and Salt of the Earth. The management of Carnival Cruise Line he placed in the hands of his son Micky Arison in Miami, and the leadership of Arison Investments he bestowed to his daughter Shari Arison, who was heading the operation of the family foundation in Israel.
A small sign that hung in his office, best expalins Ted's worldview: If you don't make waves, you are standing in the same spot.
Yad Lashiryon at Latrun, Ayalon Valley
"The battle at Latrun is part of my life story," confessed Ted Arison, who served as the Armored Corps Signaller Commander in Israel's War of Independence, and later contributed $1.4 million the establishment of the Corp’s memorial site on Latrun’s battleground. Contributions included restoration of the historical British police fort, and the construction of a new memorial hall and plaza, which commemorate the dead while consecrating life and the legacy of heroism (grant was made in 1993). The family foundation continued in Ted's footsteps, and later also contributed to accessibilizing the entire site (grand made in 2010).
The First Aliyah Museum, Zichron Ya'acov
In a unique old building at the heart of Zichron Ya’acov, stands an important landmark - The First Aliyah Museum situated in the historical administration house built in 1892, where the Baron de Rothschild administrators worked. The museum relates the story of the first Zionist pioneers who came to Israel and preserved through many hardships. The museum is named in memory of Ted Arison’s grandparents, Moshe and Sara Arisohn, who made Zichron Ya’acov their home. In response to the request of the city's residents and local authority representatives, Ted agreed to build the museum and turned to his daughter Shari to take the project forward. Shari, who understood the significance of the museum in her father's eyes, embraced this important mission. "I decided that I must build this museum, no matter what. I created contracts with the Zichron Ya'acov authorities, submitted agreements, negotiated between parties... and eventually, I was able to successfully fulfill my father's wishes, and the building stood strong. Apart from the feeling of fulfillment that I felt from founding this museum, this project also gave me something totally unexpected: it helped me learn many new things about my family's history, and better understand my roots." The foundation contributed $4 million to the structure's renovation and the establishment of the museum, and it is here that the first seeds were planted for the family foundation’s noteworthy and continuous tradition of contribution to Israeli society (Grant made in 1999).