Catherine (Cathy) Beck is one of the Weizmann Institute’s pillars of support and leadership, both in Israel and in her native Canada. The daughter of the late Mary and Tom Beck, longstanding supporters and advocates of the Weizmann Institute from Toronto – who were founding members of Weizmann Canada – Cathy has been a prominent and cherished member of the Weizmann Institute community for over four decades.
Cathy started working in the family business, one of the largest producers of Christmas tree lights in North America, at age 22, eventually serving as Chief Executive. Since the late 1970s, she has dedicated a significant amount of her time to philanthropic endeavors, a decision that reflected her parents’ commitment to earning and giving, including United Way, the Regent Park School of Music in Toronto, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, where, since 2016, she has served as Chair of the Board.
She joined the Board of Weizmann Canada in 2008, and from 2010 to 2016 served two consecutive terms as its Chair, overseeing a period of extraordinary growth and development. Under her leadership, Weizmann Canada surpassed its fundraising goals, increased engagement, and raised awareness for the Weizmann Institute of Science across the country. Working hand-in-hand with then-Weizmann Institute President Prof. Daniel Zajfman, Weizmann Canada’s Executive Director Susan Stern, and the Committee’s professional team, she helped build and expand the Canadian circle of friends of the Institute to what it is today. Under Cathy’s leadership, the community of Canadian friends of the Institute enlarged exponentially, along with its philanthropic support, mirroring – and even surpassing – the surge of activity during her parents’ leadership a generation before.
The Beck family has had an outsized impact on energy research at the Weizmann Institute, and given scientists the tools to revolutionize the field. They helped establish The Mary and Tom Beck Canadian Center for Alternative Energy Research, part of the Sustainability and Energy Research Initiative (SAERI), which positioned the Institute as a world leader in solar energy research, and brought a great line of Canadian and other donors in its wake.
Tom and Mary Beck always wanted to leave a legacy gift, and that became the eponymous Center for Advanced and Intelligent Materials, headed by Prof. Leeor Kronik. The Center supports groundbreaking research on innovative materials conducted with an eye towards applications in medicine, building materials, and alternative energy – resonating with the Beck family’s historic devotion to alternative energy research.