Philanthropist, Family Dollar owner Leon Levine dies

His name is featured prominently in such places as the Levine Cancer Institute, Levine Children’s Hospital and Levine Avenue of the Arts.
Sandra and Leon Levine are seen here in 2010.
Sandra and Leon Levine are seen here in 2010.(Source: WBTV file photo)
Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 1:31 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Leon Levine, the North Carolina native, philanthropist and founder of the Family Dollar stores, has died, company officials said.

Born on June 8, 1937, in Wadesboro, N.C., Levine opened the first Family Dollar store in Charlotte in November 1959 when he was just 22 years old, according to the Leon Levine Foundation’s website. The company was sold to Dollar Tree in 2014.

“We were saddened to learn of the passing of Leon Levine, philanthropist and founder of Family Dollar Stores. Our hearts are with the Levine family during this difficult time,” a statement from Family Dollar/Dollar Tree read.

Levine has also been very involved in the Charlotte community; his name is featured prominently in such places as the Levine Center for the Arts, Levine Cancer Institute, and Levine Children’s Hospital.

“Leon embodied everything that represented good in the world. 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,” said Armando Chardiet, President, Atrium Health Foundation.

Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital has been recognized as one of U.S. News & World...
Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital has been recognized as one of U.S. News & World Report’s (PRNewswire)

“On behalf of Foundation For The Carolinas and our subsidiary, Foundation for the Charlotte Jewish Community, our thoughts are with the Levine family as we reflect on his remarkable life and legacy,” said FFTC President and CEO Laura Smith in an issued statement. “Leon Levine’s generosity is visible throughout our community – the Levine Center for the Arts, Levine Children’s Hospital and our own Levine Conference Center, to name just a few. However, his impact extends far beyond these physical structures. When a critical community need arose, Mr. Levine was always among the first to respond. He was a philanthropic icon across the Carolinas and a great friend to the Foundation, and he will very much be missed.”

He and his wife, Sandra, founded the Sandra & Leon Levine Jewish Community Center close to 40 years ago.

“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Leon Levine, the namesake and founder of the Sandra & Leon Levine Jewish Community Center. Leon Levine was a driving force behind the opening of Shalom Park 37 years ago and we owe our success and growth to his vision and dedication,” a Center representative posted on their Facebook page.

He established The Leon Levine Foundation in 1980, an organization that supports nonprofits through the Carolinas specializing in education, healthcare, human services and Jewish values, according to their website.

Levine was also a supporter of local education, including The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

“Leon Levine and his wife, Sandra, have been stalwart supporters of UNC Charlotte. Through their generosity, hundreds of Levine Scholars have had the opportunity to pursue excellence in the classroom, while giving back to the community around them,” said Chancellor Sharon Gaber. “UNC Charlotte sends its deepest condolences to Sandra Levine and the entire Levine family as we mourn the passing of a man who helped transform education at our University and has improved the lives of countless Charlotteans.”

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