January 21, 2022

Donor Spotlight: Why AI? With Donors Eric and Jamie Gertler

Artificial intelligence, the technology that is transforming medicine, thwarting cyberattacks, and even providing shopping recommendations, is set to take off at the Technion, thanks to generous supporters Eric and Jamie Gertler.

Just months after the Technion inaugurated a center to promote the burgeoning field, the brothers, as trustees of the Zuckerman Institute, made a commitment to support a variety of innovative AI projects over the next four years. “Our gift is a launchpad to help the Technion get to where it wants to go in terms of AI,” says Jamie Gertler.

The Technion’s new Center for Machine Learning and Intelligent Systems is aimed at expanding AI activities, connecting academia with industry, and promoting AI applications in fields including medicine, defense, autonomous vehicles, and smart environments. The Gertlers’ gift is open for use in projects across the board. “First and foremost, we are proud supporters of the Technion and all the great work it does to advance technology research,” says Eric Gertler. He and Jamie recently stepped up their involvement, becoming members of the Board of Governors. “The key is to enable groundbreaking research by some of the smartest and most innovative and creative thinkers in this field.”

The Zuckerman Institute supports Israeli causes, from archaeology at the Western Wall to research at all of the major universities. The Technion’s reputation in computer science and engineering made it the perfect fit for their philanthropy. “Advancements in AI are critical to Israel’s continuation as a startup nation,” says Jamie. “And recent AI rankings show that the Technion is punching well above its weight.”

This most recent gift comes three years after the Zuckerman Institute launched the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program, an initiative to foster academic collaboration between researchers in the U.S. and Israel. Pleased with the Technion’s support of the program, the brothers, who are nephews of real estate and media industry icon Mortimer B. Zuckerman, made the current AI gift. “It’s a vote of confidence in the work the Technion can and will do in the future,” says Eric. “We’re ecstatic to be able to support projects like this.”

Jamie, who is president and CEO of investment firm Drew Lane Capital, and Eric, executive chairman of U.S. News & World Report and CEO of Ulysses Ventures, attribute their philanthropic connection to the Technion to Mr. Zuckerman. “My uncle’s commitment to Israel and his passion for the country was clearly sent over to my brother and me,” says Jamie.