The Atrium Health family grieves the loss of one of the Carolina’s most beloved philanthropists and the largest individual donor to Atrium Health Foundation, Leon Levine. Our leaders and teammates collectively extend our deepest sympathies to the Levine family and offer our gratitude for their efforts and impact in bringing health, hope, and healing – for all.
Visionary and compassionate, Leon embodied everything that represented good in the world. Not only was he a beloved family man, but he was also a facilitator of change. Over the years, he and his wife, Sandra, thoughtfully nurtured Charlotte’s evolution by supporting the community’s physical, mental and emotional needs through medical assistance in scientific research; pursuing academic excellence; providing access for disadvantaged or deserving individuals; building Jewish identity and strengthening Jewish communities locally and worldwide; eliminating homelessness; improving the lives of families, children and the elderly; and supporting cultural expression. No matter where one lives in our community, it is likely a stone’s throw from a charitable organization impacted by the Levine’s generous support or even a building that bears their name.
Among Charlotte’s most prominent leaders, Leon Levine established a legacy of philanthropic support to benefit the people of the Carolinas in more ways than one. Founder of Family Dollar Stores and a life-long entrepreneur, he leaves a rich legacy at Atrium Health. His first gift to the organization was in 1987 – a pledge to support Children’s Miracle Network. Given Leon’s keen sense of responsibility to children, he continued to support pediatric health and committed a $10 million gift in 2003 to establish Levine Children’s Hospital, stating, “There is no greater investment that you can make than in the life of a child.” It was The Leon Levine Foundation’s largest gift at the time, and it inspired other donors across the Carolinas to follow in his footsteps and give generously.
In 2010, Leon and Sandra stepped up again, this time to change the course of cancer care in the Carolinas with a $20 million leadership gift to establish the Levine Cancer Institute. Leon realized the need for Levine Cancer Institute to take a national leadership role in building a research and treatment model that would provide better access to cancer care and offer hope to his fellow citizens. Building upon their first gift to Levine Cancer Institute in 2016, they supported a second Levine Cancer Institute facility with a $25 million gift.
Passionate about meeting the unmet needs of the behavioral health system, Leon and his family established the Mindy Ellen Levine Behavioral Health Center in Davidson in 2014. The following year, they funded a psychiatry residency program to address the shortage of providers.
A selfless philanthropist, Leon went on to invest in many other areas of Atrium Health to ensure world-class care, innovative research and excellence in education. His gifts spanned supporting Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, a young women’s breast cancer program, endowed chairs in cancer research, an adolescent and young adult cancer survivorship clinic, a bone marrow transplant unit at Levine Children’s Hospital, muscular dystrophy research, and so much more.
“Leon embodied everything that represented good in the world,” said Armando Chardiet, president of Atrium Health Foundation, of which Levine was its largest individual donor. “No matter where you live in our community, you are likely not far from a charitable organization impacted by Leon and Sandra‘s generous support or something that bears the Levine name. Leon’s greatest gift is his legacy. The programs and facilities he has supported have truly changed the course of care at Atrium Health. Our teammates and patients will forever feel his imprint on their lives.”