Richard Pratt, who with his wife Jeanne established The Pratt Foundation in 1978, died on April 28, 2009. He was 75.

The Pratt success story, as an Australian and a Jew, began in Poland on December 12, 1934. In 1939, as a four year old refugee, he arrived in Australia on the eve of World War II. After succeeding his father in 1969 as the head of Visy Board, a small box-making factory in suburban Melbourne, he led the company’s expansion over the next 50 years to more than 120 packaging and waste recycling plants employing 9,000 people across Australia, the USA, New Zealand, and South East Asia.

Apart from business, Richard’s interests ranged across many organisations in Australia, Israel and the USA, both as a generous philanthropist and as an active chairman. The founding Chancellor in 1992 of the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, he held honorary doctorates from three universities in Australia and two in Israel.

Through The Pratt Foundation, he and the Pratt family were among Australia’s major sources of private philanthropy for four decades. In 1999 he extended The Pratt Foundation’s activities to Israel. And in 2000 he received the inaugural Israel Prime Minister’s Award for Philanthropy.

In 2008, along with Israel’s President Shimon Peres and then Australian Governor General, Major General Michael Jeffery, Richard opened The Park of the Australian Soldier in Be’ersheva, Israel. An initiative of The Pratt Foundation, commemorates the Australian Light Horse Brigade which won Be’ersheva from the Turks in 1917.

The two countries – Australia and Israel -- which were so central to him during his life, were also bound together on his passing. The thousands of tributes from around the world were led by Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.