Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, photo by Robert Huffstutter

Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot and Buckhead resident, is donating an incredible $80 million to local not-for-profit Shepherd Center. The sum will bring total donations to the center by Marcus and his wife Billi to a total of $120 million, and will increase the facility’s capacity for inpatient care as well as support for patients learning to live with limitations from their injuries after their treatment ends. Donations by the Marcus Foundation began with a 1988 grant to fund construction of the Shepherd Center’s Billi Marcus Building. Over the years, their financial support has helped to establish the Marcus Community Bridge Program, an outpatient support system for past patients, and the SHARE Military Initiative which supports U.S. service members after traumatic brain injuries.

The Shepherd Center is one of the nation’s top (and only) neurorehabilitation facilities specializing in spinal and brain injuries. To date, the Shepherd Center has treated more than 35,000 patients. The Center was founded in 1975, and this $80 million donation represents the largest and most transformative donation since its inception. 

“Billi and Bernie believed in us from the beginning as we dreamed to do the impossible, establishing a specialized rehabilitation program following the catastrophic accident our son, James, experienced,” Alana Shepherd, Shepherd Center co-founder and chairman of the board wrote in a press release. “With The Marcus Foundation’s generosity, we were able to grow from a singular focus on patients with spinal cord injury to now also providing life-restoring care for patients with brain injury, multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders.”

Bernie and Billi Marcus are emeriti members of the Shepherd Center Board and have long supported the facility in numerous ways, including Billi’s position as chair of the annual golf tournament fundraiser for 17 consecutive years. 

“Watching Alana and her family nurture the organization from an idea into the premier destination for neurorehabilitation has inspired my family and foundation to continue driving Shepherd Center’s mission forward,” Marcus said in a statement on the Shepherd Center website. “Billi and I are excited to be a part of Shepherd Center’s next chapters, which will save and change even more patients’ lives from catastrophic injuries and neurological conditions.”