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Ian J. Berg, 68, Financial-Services Entrepreneur, Advocate for Education

January 14, 2010
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Ian J. Berg, 68, a financial-services entrepreneur who also founded a business-funded college scholarship program for Camden youths, died Dec. 23, at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He was a resident of Cherry Hill, N.J.

For the last decade, Berg had been a managing partner of Eastern Technology Fund in West Conshohocken. He previously was president of Copelco Corp., a firm that leased business machines, which he started in the basement of his home.

In 1999, Berg co-founded Eastern Technology Fund with Wayne D. Kimmel. He helped make ETF one of the top-performing venture-capital funds in the United States.

Berg was a strong advocate for education.

In 1994, while at Copelco, he initiated an "I Have a Dream Foundation" program in Camden, N.J. The foundation helps businesses fund college tuition for disadvantaged students. He committed his company to provide future college scholarships to fifth-graders at Bonsall Elementary School, and organized tutoring, counseling and enrichment opportunities to prepare the students for academic careers. The Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed him in 1997 about the program and its goals.

Berg was past chairman of the Philadelphia Young Presidents' Organization and the Philadelphia Presidents' Organization. He served on the board of several nonprofits, including the Center for the Advancement and Study of Entrepreneurship at Temple University, the Institute for Art in Education, the Jewish Federation Senior Housing of Southern New Jersey and the Coriell Institute for Medical Research.

He had been treasurer of the board of the Wistar Institute, the nonprofit biomedical research institute, since 1997. He also supported Wistar's cancer-cell research and attended board meetings while fighting his disease.

Berg graduated from Overbrook High School and was inducted into the school's hall of fame. He earned a bachelor's degree in commerce and engineering from Drexel University.

Before starting his own company, he was an executive for AT&T International Business Machines Corp., and Business Management Data Corp.

He was a frequent contributor to industry publications and lectured at Drexel University's LeBow College of Business.

Berg is survived by his wife, Lee Robbins Berg; daughter Lisa Jacobs; sons Jeffrey Berg and Andrew Berg; a sister, Lynne Lichtenstein; and six grandchildren.

Contributions in his memory can be made to: the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Robert Fine Research Fund, 650 W. 168th St., BB-2005, New York, N.Y. 10032.

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