In 1919, Jim's parents, Joseph and Nora Salah, emigrated
from Lebanon to the United States. They
courageously left their Maronite Christian hometown of Becharre (Bsharri) to
pursue the American Dream. With little
money, and without the ability to speak English, Joseph and Nora prospered
through hard work and determination. By
1924, they had three children: Isabel, James, and George.
At a very young age, it became very clear that Jim was a
natural for business because he possessed an exceptional ability with
numbers. With little more than a pickup truck and a wheelbarrow, Jim started his own construction business in Boston,
Massachusetts. He believed that if you
thought small, small things would happen, but if you thought big, big things
would happen. As Jim thought bigger, his
business continued to grow. It was not
long before his one-man operation flourished into a formidable construction
company, which handled some of Boston's largest utility projects. With an entrepreneurial spirit that could not
be contained, he ventured into real estate development and heavy equipment
leasing, which later became one of the largest crawler crane leasing companies
in the northeast.
Like most successful individuals, Jim understood the
importance of giving back to his community.
His charitable giving philosophy mirrored his investment policy, which
was to only invest in organizations that he could understand. Regardless of a business' profit or a
non-profit status, Jim preferred investing in the underdog because he too, was
once the underdog, both in life and business.
In the end, Jim, a first generation American, achieved
enormous prosperity. Upon his death in 2009,
the Salah Foundation was founded, and it serves as a living tribute to his
lifelong success and generosity.
Today, Jim's commitment to philanthropy lives on
through his niece, Noreen Salah Burpee, who serves as Executive Director of the