Charles Guttman was born on Manhattan’s Lower East Side of an immigrant family. From his father, Adolph Guttman, a Romanian emigre, Charles Guttman learned an appreciation for education, a respect for hard work, a belief in the equality of opportunity for all people and a firm commitment to helping those in need.
Charles Guttman, the second of Adolph’s four children, was born in September 1892. He attended Public School 20 and was graduated before he was thirteen, when his formal education came to an end. As a child, Charles Guttman was enormously resourceful, taking odd jobs to earn his way. He made a nickel for each message he delivered for the New York Stock Exchange. When immigrants arrived at Ellis Island, he earned twenty cents for escorting them to their relatives’ homes.
Charles Guttman suffered from the problems of growing up in the densely populated, difficult living conditions of the Lower East Side. His own experience with youthful delinquent behavior led to his commitment as an adult to help children overcome the problems they face in our society.
In 1937, Charles Guttman founded The Paddington Corporation, which became the exclusive importer of Justerini & Brooks Ltd. (J&B), a creator of fine wines and whiskies.
In November 1959, Charles Guttman, with his wife, Stella Rappaport Guttman, founded the Guttman Foundation to continue the family’s charitable tradition. The Foundation’s purpose was broadly described as the “improvement and benefit of mankind, and the alleviation of human suffering.” Upon their deaths in 1969, the Guttmans bequeathed substantially all of their assets to the Foundation.