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Name: Solomont, Alan
Current Position: Previous Ambassador

A key fundraiser for President Barack Obama’s, Alan D. Solomont has been a major player in Democratic Party politics since the 1980s, while amassing a fortune in the nursing home industry and contributing millions to a variety of philanthropic causes, including many Jewish organizations. He was confirmed by the Senate as Ambassador to Spain on December 24, 2009.

Born in Boston in 1957, Solomont was raised in Brookline by Jewish parents versed in nursing-related industries. His mother worked as a nurse at Boston City Hospital, and his father (whose family hailed from Russia) was a local operator of nursing homes.
Solomont first attended college at Tufts University, during which time he attended the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago as a page. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science and urban studies in 1970, and then studied abroad as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow.
Nursing was ultimately how Solomont made his fortune, although it was not by caring for the sick or injured. He did work at a nursing home, but was fired for trying to unionize the work force. Solomont went to work at his father’s nursing homes, which led him to return to school and get his Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1977 from the University of Lowell (now the University of Massachusetts Lowell).
His forays into Democratic politics in Massachusetts began in the 1970s, first with modest fundraisers for local politicians like Michael Dukakis. As Dukakis’ profile rose with his election as governor, so did Solomont’s reputation, and his political money-raising skills went national with Dukakis’s presidential run in 1988.
While establishing his place in Democratic circles, Solomont also built his business holdings, becoming CEO of the ADS Group, the biggest nursing home chain in the northeast. He also served as president of the Massachusetts Federation of Nursing Homes during the 1980s.
By the following decade, he had become vice chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees, which helped him become a leading candidate for the school’s presidency. One of two finalists, Solomont was passed over in favor of Jack Wilson, due to the fact he was either too closely aligned with the Democratic Party, or because of controversial dealings involving fugitive mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, or other scandals involving Solomont’s brothers. Jay Solomont served time in an Israeli prison for misappropriation of funds, and David Solomont was accused of embezzling $1 million from a start-up firm (the matter was settled out of court).
With the arrival of the Clintons on the national stage in 1992, Solomont became known as a successful fundraiser for Bill and Hillary. He raised substantial sums for both of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns, along with $40 million for Democrats after the president named him the party’s finance chairman in 1997.
Solomont sold the ADS Group in 1996 and pocketed $100 million from the sale. He then became chief executive of Solomont Bailis Ventures, a Massachusetts-based nursing home group with interests in the United States and Latin America.
Republicans in the Senate accused Solomont of using his contributions to Democrats to sway then-Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala’s decisions affecting nursing home regulations. He was subpoenaed, along with three other Massachusetts businessmen, to determine if they had obtained improper access to the Clinton administration. Solomont was among the major donors who were permitted to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom at the Clinton White House as a reward for contributing substantially to the president’s campaign.
In 2000, he was appointed by President Clinton to the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees three national service initiatives: AmeriCorps, the Service Corps and Learn and Serve America. (He was elected chairman of the board in February 2009.)
Solomont continued being a key source of money for Democratic presidential candidates
this decade, helping Al Gore and John Kerry, for whom he once brought in $4 million at a single event.
When it came to the 2008 presidential contest, Solomont did not back Hillary Clinton, as many expected. Instead, he joined Obama’s camp, and oversaw the Illinois Democrat’s fundraising operation in the Northeast. He bundled at least $500,000 in contributions for Obama, and between him and his family, the Solomonts gave nearly $230,000 to Democratic candidates during the 2008 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Solomont has served on the boards of numerous organizations including Angel Healthcare Investors, LLC, Boston Medical Center, Jewish Funds for Justice, the New Israel Fund, Israel Policy Forum, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, Cradles to Crayons, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and the WGBH Educational Foundation, the largest producer of content for PBS. He has chaired the board of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, and was elected to the Tufts University Board of Trustees in 1999.
He has served as director of Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Polymedica, a supplier of diabetic testing equipment, Allegiance Hospice Company, SchoolSports, Inc. and Aveta, a health insurance organization operating in Puerto Rico, California and Illinois. Solomont was also a founding member of the Progressive Business Leaders Network.
Solomont is married to Susan Lewis, a senior advisor at The Philanthropic Initiative, where she advises individuals, foundations and corporations on strategic philanthropy. They live in Weston, Massachusetts with their two daughters, Stephanie and Becca.
Alan D. Solomont Biography (Tufts University)
Donor Scorecard: Alan Solomont (by Ken Silverstein, Harper’s Magazine)
The $4 Million Man (by Don Aucoin, Boston Globe)
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