Bolder Giving - Give More, Risk more, Inspire more
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Abigail Disney Abigail Disney - Featured January 2011
I was afraid to be bold in my 20s. The first leap I took was moving from LA to NYC – far from my family of origin, to have the space to become myself. My husband and I started a family foundation in 1991 because it seemed like a good thing to do. The... More
Alison Goldberg Alison Goldberg
My father started a computer software company around the time I was born that grew for several years. The company was sold when I was in my early 20's, and I inherited money after that. During this time I was working on economic justice issues, and wanted to... More
Anne and Christopher Ellinger Anne and Christopher Ellinger - Featured August 2012
The half-million dollar inheritance we gave away in the mid 1980’s turned out to be a shockingly good investment: it has helped to unleash over $200 billion in charitable giving.  How’s that for leverage!  Of course it was more than... More
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield - Featured December 2012
When we started Ben and Jerry’s in 1978 we had no business experience and no money, so we sure weren’t thinking about philanthropy. We were worried about making the business successful. We had both failed at other things we had tried: Ben at being... More
Boris Yakubchik Boris Yakubchik - Featured February 2013
Giving has become absurdly easy for me. I started giving when I was working part-time as a student: I’d give $30 any time I earned $300; then $50 when I’d earn $500. Now that I’m working full-time, every two weeks I glance at my paycheck... More
Brendan Martin Brendan Martin - Featured September 2012
There was nothing about my childhood to suggest I would become a radical economist and entrepreneur, giving away most of my money to finance worker cooperatives in Argentina, Nicaragua and the U.S. As a kid growing up in generic suburbs of Rochester, NY, I... More
Burcu Mirza Burcu Mirza
Like virtue, philanthropy is a habit. Reflecting back on my own life, I can now see that my own habit stemmed from the positive influence of outstanding philanthropists around me. Therefore, the story of “my giving” is also their story. I was... More
Cathy Raphael Cathy Raphael - Featured January 2013
The world is out of balance.  We need to support the divine feminine parts of life that are much more loving and peaceful.  When it comes to giving, that means breaking through the isolation and barriers that often exist between and among donors and... More
Cheryl A. Pemberton Cheryl A. Pemberton - Featured February 2011
I’m on a mission to inspire the African American community to be bold givers – not just with our time and talents, which we always give abundantly -- but with our money as well. What will it take, I wonder, for more of us to give to organizations... More
Chuck Collins Chuck Collins
My grandfather was the meat packer Oscar Mayer. In 1986, when I turned 25, I gave away an inheritance worth almost half a million dollars. Had the funds remained invested in a modest growth fund, they would be worth $4 to 6 million today. I made this... More
Chuck Collins & Alison Goldberg Chuck Collins & Alison Goldberg - Featured March 2010
Chuck: My grandfather was the meat packer Oscar Mayer. In 1986, when I turned 25, I gave my entire inheritance to the Funding Exchange and other community funds working for social justice.   It was worth almost half a million dollars. (Had the funds... More
David Becker David Becker
My philanthropic journey began in 1968, when as a college junior I inherited a couple million dollars from my mother. After hesitant efforts to give some of it away, I was transformed by encounters in the 1970s with Haymarket People’s Fund and Gay... More
David Ludlow David Ludlow
My late wife was a philanthropist and anti-racism activist. Her accidental death in 1996 propelled me into a shocking new identity as a person with wealth. To live a meaningful life as a person of wealth, I threw myself into a crash self-help program that... More
Edorah Frazer Edorah Frazer
When my father died when I was 16, I was completely unprepared to inherit half a million dollars. I felt isolated and confused in contemplating my responsibility toward my wealth. But by the time I was given control of the principal at age 25, I felt much... More
Elizabeth Sheehan Elizabeth Sheehan - Featured January 2012
Over the past three years, I’ve completely transformed myself as a giver.  Previously, I was the uninspired yet loyal trustee of our family foundation.  Although our grant-making was generous and thoughtful, the process seemed perfunctory,... More
Elspeth Gilmore Elspeth Gilmore - Featured July 2011
At age 33, I’m at last coming into my own about my wealth.  I’ve made mistakes.  I’ve learned a lot.  I’m finally clear that, for me, using my resources to make change is about collective action. I grew up wealthy in... More
Farhad Ebrahimi Farhad Ebrahimi - Featured September 2010
As a teenager, I was gifted a significant amount of money. This gift came from my father, who was and is a very successful high-tech entrepreneur. Even as I write this, he's probably out there making more money, and all of it will be set aside for family.... More
Frank and Ruth Butler Frank and Ruth Butler
Our giving is grounded in our Christian faith. We have been blessed to learn from wise people, starting with our parents, who know how to incorporate sound values into all money practices. Every budget is really a moral statement highlighting... More
Frank Rasmus Frank Rasmus
In my 45 years of working as an insurance claims examiner/supervisor, I never earned more than $45,000 a year. But I lived frugally, invested well, and built up a sizable retirement account. Since retiring a few years ago, I have gleefully discovered I can... More
George Pillsbury George Pillsbury - Featured November 2013
My family’s wealth came from grain mills my great-grandfather started along the Mississippi in the 1850s. My great grandfather before that and his sons fought at Lexington Green and relatives were involved in abolition, women’s suffrage, and an... More
Gerard Senehi Gerard Senehi
My life, philanthropy, work as an entertainer, and non-profit pursuit have been guided by the belief that the future is in our hands and thus open to our influence, that we have the power to impact culture with important implications for ourselves, our... More
Grace Ross Grace Ross
Growing up in a wealthy family in New York City, I was raised to believe that I would always be taken care of. As a Harvard student I got involved in social activism and was outraged to learn how many people never have that experience of safety. It didn't... More
Hal Taussig Hal Taussig
My wife and I have given $3 million – almost all our business profits over the past 13 years – in loans that help poor people start businesses. Living happily on our Social Security checks gives us the slack to give away more. In mid-life, my... More
Harry R. Halloran Jr. Harry R. Halloran Jr. - Featured June 2010
As I was completing my degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, I realized that I wanted to do something for mankind instead of working for the family business which was involved in the heavy construction industry. After completing my... More
Ian Fuller Ian Fuller
I never used the word philanthropy, but I grew up with its finest traditions disguised in plain sight as Black culture. My grandfather was the abstract impressionist painter Norman Lewis, and his legacy to our family has many complexities, shaping my... More
Jason Franklin Jason Franklin - Featured February 2012
I was just 14 years old when I had my first success as a community organizer.  Angry about major proposed cuts to public education in state, I co-founded a student organizing effort to “save the Oregon school system.”  I was thrilled as... More
Jenny Ladd Jenny Ladd
What do a Standard Oil heiress (that’s me), a working-class Jewish woman, and a working-class Cuban-American man have in common? We all changed our lives through a cross-class dialogue group. Six of us met monthly for six years. We told each other... More
Jessie Spector Jessie Spector
I learned the values of humble generosity and living in moderation early on from my family. My parents were wonderfully philanthropic in untraditional ways (and traditional ones too).  My father is a terrific organizer; our house was always filled with... More
Johnny Lapham Johnny Lapham
Having benefited from inheritance provided by my grandparents as well as dividends and stocks from my family's paper company, I was moved to do something extraordinary for others. Since so much of my wealth is not earned, I have tried to see it as a... More
Joshua Mailman Joshua Mailman
All my adult life, I’ve woven together three passions – cutting edge philanthropy, socially responsible venture capital, and building networks to support innovation. I follow my instincts and move toward people and ideas that excite me, whether I... More
Julia Wise and Jeff Kaufman Julia Wise and Jeff Kaufman
To me the question isn't how much I should give away, but how much I should keep. I see my money as belonging to whoever needs it most: every dollar I spend is a dollar out of the hands of someone who needs it more than me. I’ve always felt that way. I... More
Karen Keating Ansara and Jim Ansara Karen Keating Ansara and Jim Ansara - Featured November 2009
My husband Jim and I adopted four children, three from impoverished parts of Latin America. So we live every day with the effect early poverty has on children: intellectually, socially, and emotionally. Desperate parents give up their children to people... More
Karen Pittelman Karen Pittelman - Featured October 2012
The first question people usually ask when they find out I gave away a three million dollar trust fund at the age of 25 is: do you regret it? Since this was one of the most joyous decisions of my life—I’ve never felt any regret—it’s an... More
Kathy LeMay Kathy LeMay - Featured December 2010
When I was growing up, I thought only millionaires could be philanthropists. I came from a working-class family, so I thought I could never be a philanthropist. Still, I wanted to solve social injustices so I became an activist, first as a student in my small... More
Lewis Cullman Lewis Cullman
In 1999, I sold my company, At-A-Glance, to Mead Paper Co. for $550 million. Shortly thereafter, my wife Dorothy and I decided to pledge or give a majority of it away since most of our needs were taken care of. My first advice about philanthropy came from... More
Linus Roache Linus Roache
I have always felt very blessed to be in my profession. As an actor I have explored a craft that I love, traveled the world, and sometimes earn large amounts of money that has given me a lot of freedom. Currently, I play ADA Michael Cutter on NBC’s Law... More
Margaret Lloyd Margaret Lloyd
To my amazement, I’m now 88 years old; I don’t know how I got here. So many elderly people sit around having their cocktails and going to Florida, not really being alive. I want to continue to count for something no matter that I do feel my... More
Marji Greenhut Marji Greenhut
Growing up, I was taught to give Tzedakah, which means giving for justice (not charity). My family always had a little blue box for the United Jewish Appeal on the table. So when I inherited millions in 1995, I knew right away I would give most of it away,... More
Mark Reed Mark Reed
“Are you kiddin me? You haven’t been to jail and none of your family’s on crack?”  Damien, a mouthy, bright fourteen year old wanted to know who I was, where I came from, and why I was there. It was tougher to prove myself to... More
Mike Lapham Mike Lapham
As a fifth-generation family owner of a small paper mill in Upstate New York, I began receiving four large checks a year in my late twenties – each one larger than the yearly earnings of a minimum wage worker. At the time, I worked in the low-income... More
Milt Lauenstein Milt Lauenstein
I was involved with the corporate world for over 40 years, as CEO in several companies, management consultant, and college lecturer. In 2001, a little company I had a stake in became successful and began paying dividends. Five years later the company was... More
Molly Stranahan Molly Stranahan - Featured May 2010
I’ve never thought of myself as a bold giver, although generosity has been one of my core values and is a legacy from my wealthy family.  My great-grandfather and his brother founded Champion Spark Plug Company over 100 years ago. As a teenager, I... More
Nick Beckstead and Mark Lee Nick Beckstead and Mark Lee - Featured March 2011
We are deeply committed to giving significantly, and to helping others experience the joy and power of effective giving. Currently, we’re getting our PhD’s in philosophy at Rutgers University. Graduate students aren’t exactly rolling in... More
Phil Villers Phil Villers
I came to the U.S. when I was five, fleeing France with my family two hours ahead of the German army. This experience may have helped to shape my social conscience. As a young man, my father pushed me toward sciences and engineering, so I became a mechanical... More
Philippe Cousteau Philippe Cousteau - Featured July 2013
People assume that fame and fortune came easily to me because my grandfather was Jacques Cousteau, but nothing could be further from the truth. My father died before I was born and my sister and I inherited very little except our mother’s indomitable... More
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Chris Bartle Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Chris Bartle
Bobby: How did we decide to start a company that gives 100% of its profits selling water in order to protect public waterways? My lifelong love of nature and animals grew into a concern for the environment. In 1984 I started working to protect the Hudson... More
Russell Roybal Russell Roybal
I didn't get to where I am today by myself. I am the product of an extended family, raised by the proverbial “village.” I grew up sharing as a family norm. We didn’t have a lot growing up, but we had more than others and we shared what... More
Ruth Ann Harnisch Ruth Ann Harnisch
Money issues are different in what my friend Steven calls “the third quarter.” He figures we play to live to 100, and since we’re over 50, we’re in (we hope) the third quarter. Of course, the game can end anytime due to force majeure,... More
Terrence Meck Terrence Meck - Featured April 2013
On my thirtieth birthday, my partner Rand was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He passed away just four months later, on Independence Day of 2008.  Nothing in my life had prepared me to deal with such a loss. In the four years since his death, I... More
Tom White Tom White
I met Paul Farmer in 1983. Project Bread asked if I’d build an oven in Haiti, which saved women from walking 20 miles for bread. When I went to see the oven in Cange I met Paul. He was 23; I was 63. Our meeting was cooked up in heaven. Paul was still... More
Tyrone Boucher Tyrone Boucher
My dad set up a trust fund for me when I was young, with stock from a software company he started. The company ended up making lots of money, and my trust fund grew to about $400,000. By the time I turned 25 and began to receive some money from the trust, I... More
William J. vanden Heuvel William J. vanden Heuvel
The American Dream will stay alive as long as people are willing to chase it and fight for it, as long as we take pride in America’s contributions to human history and the advancement of democracy and work to preserve that heritage into the future. Just... More
Zell Kravinsky Zell Kravinsky
I always wanted to to be a philanthropist and to give part of my body away to help others. Now at age 54, I am pleased to say I have done both. I have had a successful real estate business. In 2003, I reached a point when I had provided for my kids and had... More
 
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