Calvin Cafritz (1931-2023) 

Calvin Cafritz, the eldest son of real estate developer Morris Cafritz, died last week at the age of 91. Cafritz’s passing was confirmed by the charitable organization named after Morris and his wife, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. The foundation, which Calvin led for over 30 years (after his mother Gwendolyn died in 1988), focuses on programs in the arts and humanities. Late last year, Calvin’s wife Jane was elected to succeed her husband as the foundation’s president and CEO and he was named chairman emeritus. 

The Cafritz Foundation was one of the biggest in the D.C. area, with over $400 million in assets and around $65 million in annual revenue and expenses, according to The Washington Business Journal. While he was head of the foundation, Cafritz distributed grants to places like The National Gallery of Art, Washington National Opera and The Kennedy Center. 

Calvin Cafritz began his career with Cafritz Construction in 1947, pausing briefly to attend college and serve in the military. Following the death of his father, Calvin became president of The Cafritz Co., Cafritz Construction Co. and Ambassador, Inc. in 1964. He resigned seven years later to form Cafritz Enterprises.  

In relation to real estate, Calvin Cafritz dove deep into area projects over the years like the Riverdale Park Station in Prince George’s County as well as developments at 5333 Connecticut Ave. NW and 1725 I St. NW. The Cafritz Foundation is also responsible for developing Art Place at Fort Totten, a huge mixed-use project in the Northeast D.C. area. There are also real estate assets at Arlington’s 3701 N. Fairfax Drive, which is the former home of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. 

Chances are, many Washingtonians might not even realize how much real estate the Cafritz family is responsible for in the area. Calvin’s father Morris built the now-demolished Ambassador Hotel at 14th and K Streets NW, homes next to the National Arboretum, the Greenwich Forest neighborhood in Bethesda and several office buildings downtown. 

Cafritz is survived by Jane, his third wife, who is a lawyer in the area. He also has three children, five grandchildren and three stepchildren. He is also survived by his brother Conrad Cafritz, chairman and CEO of Cafritz Interests, a real estate company. Calvin’s brother Carter passed away in 2019. 





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