Wilfs enjoy small towns, giving back [UPDATED]Published 8:25am Monday, May 21, 2012 Updated 10:31am Monday, May 21, 2012
Minnesota Vikings President Mark Wilf, younger brother of Vikings chairman Zygi Wilf, happily came to Battle Lake in November 2007 for two reasons.
The first was to join in a Vikings delegation that met with kids at the Battle Lake school, part of the What Moves U health clinic that was held in conjunction with the NFL and American Heart Association. He also came to Battle Lake to meet with fans of all ages who reside in a small community in rural Minnesota.
Mark Wilf showed his true colors close to five years ago in Battle Lake. He humbly stayed in the background while former Vikings linebacker Pete Bercich led the kids in some exercise routines, with support from Vikings cheerleaders.
Battle Lake was among seven rural schools participating with the Vikings in the What Moves U health clinic. The Wilfs know they have been blessed with good health and good fortune. They also appreciate their family roots.
Mark Wilf and his wife, Jane, as the son and daughter in law of Holocaust survivors, are determined to spare no effort to ensure the future safety and continuity of the Jewish people both in this country and in Israel. Both Mark and Jane have lent their leadership talents and energies to a large variety of Jewish endeavors and boards.
“The Wilf family’s generosity sets an inspiring example about the importance of educating our youngest children in Jewish traditions and values,” said New Jersey civic leader Joe Bier.
Golda Och Academy honored the Wilfs for their extraordinary generosity in donating $2 million to a school project. Mark and Jane Wilf are the proud parents of four children who have all attended the Lower School at Golda Och Academy.
Wilf, 49, is a principal owner in Garden Homes Development and is a national figure in the Jewish federation movement. Mark and Jane Wilf are determined to spare no effort to ensure the future safety and continuity of the Jewish people both in this country and in Israel. They support the Central New Jersey Federation, March of the Living and many other organizations.
The March of the Living is an annual educational program which brings students from around the world to Poland where they explore the remnants of the Holocaust. On Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom HaShoah), thousands of participants march silently from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp built during World War II.
The program was established in 1988 and takes place annually for two weeks around April and May, immediately following Passover.
Older brother Zygi Wilf, 62, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1971 and later graduated from New York Law School in Manhattan. After working as an attorney, he joined the family business and became head of one of the company’s affiliates, Garden Commercial Properties. He has grown the company from four shopping centers in northern New Jersey to over a hundred properties, including several large malls and 30,000 apartment units around the country.
Wilf and five partners purchased the Minnesota Vikings from Red McCombs in 2005 for a reported $600 million Forbes estimates the value of the franchise at over $800 million.
Celebrity Profile puts Zygi Wilf’s net worth at $1.3 billion.
Granted, that’s a lot of money. The Wilfs themselves owe a lot to the people of Minnesota who will pay for close to half of the new Vikings stadium. But as demonstrated by Mark Wilf and his wife, Jane, the Wilf family also feels a responsibility in giving back.
Tom Hintgen is a Fergus Falls resident and former Journal reporter.