Natives of Marion Iowa, Bert and Henry Katz began what would grow to be a 45-year partnership of business and community development. Rather than treating Bert like a brother, Henry took him under his wing and treated him more like the son that he never had. After starting Katz Salvage and Auto Parts, the Katz brothers looked for ways to improve the community in which they called home. They recognized the need for low-income housing in the area and developed the first mobile home park in Marion, which provided affordable housing for 50 families. When Bert and Henry sold the park in 1999, the park had grown to over 600 homes covering 20 acres.
Bert and Henry donated the land that houses the police station in Marion and repeated the same generous act seven years later when they gave the city the land needed for the fire station. Not only did this benefit the city, but the countryside and public safety. It is hard to imagine what Marion would look like without the vision and leadership the Katz brothers provided to this thriving community.
Learning from their parents about the importance of giving to the less fortunate, they established into the company’s business plan a separate account set aside for charitable donations. It is called the Mitzvah account, which means in Jewish “helping others.” Some of the beneficiaries of the Katz’s kindness include: Mercy Medical Center’s cardiovascular unit that bears their name, Lowe Park, numerous religious organizations of various denominations, and Mount Mercy, Cornell, Coe, and Kirkwood Community College scholarships.