Lazar Finker is a co-Founder and Director of the Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation, a family-operated organization committed to the causes of medical research, education, religious development, and children’s welfare. Based in Jacksonville, Florida, Lazar is an accomplished entrepreneur, musician, and academic, passionate about giving back to his community. The Foundation envisions a world in which the dire needs of others are met through the generosity and support of those who are able to give. In accordance with their mission, they seek to fund organizations that demonstrate innovative, creative, and effective solutions that create meaningful change in the lives of individuals and families.Among the many initiatives the foundation supports, a special emphasis is placed on education, culture, and charity. Organizations that the foundation has supported over the years include Miami Jewish Health Systems, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Mount Sinai Medical Center, the University of Miami, Bascom-Palmer Eye Institute, Police Officers Assistance Trust, a Jewish Orphanage in Moscow and Chabad of Southside. The foundation adopts a multigenerational approach to creating a positive impact and is unwavering in its dedication to building a better tomorrow. Lazar was born in Kazan, Russia in 1952. In 1978, Lazar Finker graduated with a Masters of Arts degree from the Kazan Academy of Culture and Arts. He continued his education, later earning a Ph.D. in Education from the Academy of Pedagogical Science and a Masters of Laws from Kazan State University. Lazar’s contributions to academia in his native country include numerous published papers on the topics of juvenile delinquency and continuous education. However, his work extended beyond purely instructional or research roles. Lazar founded and directed Russia’s first community college.
In the early 1990s, Lazar Finker accepted an offer to serve as a visiting professor at Florida Community College in Jacksonville. After relocating with his wife and young son, Lazar’s success in the classroom inspired a longer stay than the family originally anticipated. Lazar and his spouse, Raissa, made a home here in the United States.
After some time, Lazar and Raissa, along with several partners, established an integral business partnership. The collective parties purchased a shipment of food commodities which were sent to Europe leveraging barter trade and accepting compensation in the form of natural gas. In turn, they then traded this natural gas with partners in exchange for other goods. This barter network grew into one of the largest in that region of the world, and their actions built the foundation for what became a fully integrated natural gas producer. Raissa served as CEO of United States operations. In 2012, they sold their equity in the business so that they could better focus on domestic investment opportunities. Today, Lazar and Raissa run a large private equity firm with a focus on domestic investment, particularly real estate and seafood.
Partners and Grant Recipients