In 1976, David Merage co-founded Chef America, Inc., a national frozen food manufacturer known for inventing and marketing products including Hot Pockets, Lean Pockets, and Croissant Pockets. At the time of its sale to Nestlé in 2002, the company had reached $750 million in annual sales, employed 1,800 people, and was growing at a rate of 15% per year, making it one of the fastest-growing food companies in the world.
Today, David is an investor and venture philanthropist. Through his company, Consolidated Investment Group (CIG), David invests in real estate and the capital markets. He also invests in people through his foundation, the David and Laura Merage Foundation. The primary mission of his foundation is to promote self-sufficiency through education and community development in the United States and Israel. Mirroring his approach to business, David's philanthropic goal is to develop new systems or improve existing ones, select like-minded individual and organizational partners, and bring each project to successful completion together. His management team is comprised of experts in the education and non-profit sectors, supported by senior-level finance, legal, management, and marketing professionals.
The David and Laura Merage Foundation is centered on the belief that education is the gateway to optimal life outcomes. The foundation concentrates its efforts in four primary areas: Early Childhood Education, Art and Community, Jewish Life (Domestic), and Jewish Life (International).
David was born to Andre and Katherine Merage in Tehran, Iran, in 1949 as one of five children. At the age of 15, he traveled to England to pursue his studies and then completed his formal education in the United States with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from California State University. David is married to Laura Merage, who was also born in Tehran. Laura holds a Master's degree in Art from New York University and is an accomplished artist/photographer with works in public and private collections nationally and internationally. David and Laura have two adult children, Jonathan and Sabrina. Jonathan attended Purdue University and conducts severe weather research throughout the country. Sabrina attended the University of Denver, received a degree in Marketing, and now provides business consulting, reputation management, and next-generation education to high-performing and high-net-worth families.