Businessman Bruce Levenson on time.com is committed to helping others. For more than 40 years he has quietly used his wealth to improve the lives of less fortunate people. Levenson is a talented and driven man. He earned a significant portion of his wealth by growing the United Communications Group from a small newsletter focused on information in the energy sector into a large business concern that provides information, analysis, and solutions to people and organizations worldwide involved in banking, defense industries, energy, healthcare, telecommunications, technology, and government contracting. But his passion has long been philanthropy.
Bruce Levenson was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis where he earned a B.A. in Political Science. He then attended American University’s law school at night so he could get his Juris Doctorate while working as a journalist with the Washington Star. After graduating in 1976, Levenson partnered with Ed Peskowitz in 1977 and stated United Communications Group. It was a newsletter dealing with the latest developments in the oil industry. They ran the company from a room in Levenson’s apartment above his father’s liquor store in Washington, D.C.
As the company grew, they acquired a number of other newsletters and began launching databases. One of the most popular was the Oil Price Information Service. UCG was ahead of its time. Through it Levenson and Peskowitz began providing information to their customers online. This was over 10 years before the internet became available commercially. UCG is an industry leader and has won over 125 awards for editorial excellence. The company also owns GasBuddy, a mobile app which helps drivers find the lowest gas prices in their area. Over 45 million people use GasBuddy. In 2004, Levenson was the majority owner of a group that bought the Atlanta Hawks.
But even while Levenson was building his businesses, his mind was never far from philanthropy. Working with his wife Karen, Levenson began funding several educational initiatives designed to help at-risk youth beginning in the early 1980s. Some of the programs they funded included the Seed School, ‘I Have a Dream’, PeacePlayers, and Bringing the Lessons Home, a program which Levenson does in conjunction with the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
One of the programs that Levenson funds that has had a wide reaching impact is the Center for Philanthropy and Non-Profit Management which is based on the University of Maryland campus. Founded in 2011, the program prepares students to run non-profit organizations by offering courses in non-profit management and philanthropy, gives students the opportunity to speak with philanthropists and leaders of non-profit organizations, and provides the tools, guidance, and experience necessary to assess and run effective non-profit organizations.
Bruce Levenson is an excellent businessman. But more importantly, he is a caring human being and philanthropist that’s making a difference.