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Back to Story Library - Givers by Amount of Wealth - -
Alison Goldberg Alison Goldberg - Under $1M
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
Amoz Amoz - Under $1M
The best part about inheriting over $3 million dollars has been the chance to give most of that money to groups working for social change. I’ve been able to fund projects that have made a huge difference to Gay, Bi, Lesbian, and Queer youth, teachers,... More
Anne and Christopher Ellinger Anne and Christopher Ellinger - Under $1M
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
Ari Weisbard & Rebecca Ennen Ari Weisbard & Rebecca Ennen - Under $1M
Rebecca: My earliest memories of giving were participating in the Walk for Hunger and the AIDS Walk in Boston with my mother. The fundraising goals that we set each year felt tangible and real. I’d imagine hungry kids eating meals that I... More
Boris Yakubchik Boris Yakubchik - Under $1M
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
Brickson Diamond Brickson Diamond - Under $1M
I focus my giving on organizations and efforts that increase access.  This means opening pathways to positions of power for people from communities that are traditionally excluded.  As a gay, black man who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia during the... More
Cathie Hartnett Cathie Hartnett - Under $1M
When I was twenty-five, I inherited a lot of money.  I’m not sure exactly how much, but I know it would be worth millions today.  I wasn’t given any direction in how to use it.  I was literally handed an envelope filled with stock... More
Cathy Cathy - Under $1M
Growing up in Asia, I was moved by the plight of suffering animals - a frequent sight. But I didn't know how to help them. Nobody around me cared about animals. After college in the UK, I joined animal, environmental, and human rights groups, but my... More
Charlie Rounds Charlie Rounds - Under $1M
Deciding to give it all was easy.   I was an early partner in RSVP, the first tour company to give gay and lesbian people a spectacular and harassment-free vacation. After 16 years in the business I sold my share to one of the partners.  The... More
Chuck Collins Chuck Collins - Under $1M
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 - Under $1M
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
Douglas Tsoi Douglas Tsoi - Under $1M
I believe that a happy life is a purposeful and meaningful one, one filled with connection and service to others.  Ten years ago, after being laid-off as a technology lawyer in San Francisco, I wrote a mission for my life: to help people learn and become... More
Edorah Frazer Edorah Frazer - Under $1M
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
George Salzman George Salzman - Under $1M
I was once a theoretical physicist. Now I'm an anarchist and opposed to the growing division of rich and poor. I'm 82 years old. A few years ago I left my old life behind, put my house in a trust to benefit the community, and moved to Oaxaca, Mexico, where... More
Gerard Senehi Gerard Senehi - Under $1M
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 - Under $1M
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
Gregory Lewis Gregory Lewis - Under $1M
My philanthropic journey began when I was around 14 or 15.  I thought I might find a cure for AIDS or invent something as great as a malaria vaccination.  I’m not sure where these desires came from; but it occurred to me that if I wanted to... More
James James - Under $1M
I inherited over half a million dollars in my early twenties, and donated 2/3rds of this to nuclear freeze and peace campaigns. At the age of fifty, I received a trust distribution and made my largest single gift of $105,000 to the Peace Development Fund. My... More
Jason Franklin Jason Franklin - Under $1M
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
Jessan Hutchison-Quillian Jessan Hutchison-Quillian - Under $1M
In 2007, at 20 years old, I got my first job as an engineer.  When I opened the offer letter from Google, I realized that my starting salary of over $100,000 would be more than anyone I’d ever been close to had made.  I knew for sure that I... More
Jessie Spector Jessie Spector - Under $1M
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
Jill Warren Jill Warren - Under $1M
When Bob and I were married in 1993 and were combining our households, we were stunned by how much stuff we both owned. It seemed almost obscene to have so many things and it was shocking to consider the money spent on so many items that had been stored in... More
Johnny Lapham Johnny Lapham - Under $1M
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
Joyce and Joe Ybarra Joyce and Joe Ybarra - Under $1M
Joyce: Joe and I both grew up in West Covina, a city in Los Angeles County that is heavily Mexican-American and Filipino-American. I am Filipina and Joe is Mexican-American. Both of us come from families with high expectations for their kids; my parents... More
Julia Wise and Jeff Kaufman Julia Wise and Jeff Kaufman - Under $1M
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
Kathy LeMay Kathy LeMay - Under $1M
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
Linus Roache Linus Roache - Under $1M
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
Magdaleno “Leno” Rose-Avila Magdaleno “Leno” Rose-Avila - Under $1M
My name is Leno and I have a PhD.  It stands for Public Highway Demonstrations and it comes from hard lessons through the University of Street Smarts.  When I was 11, I worked in the onion fields of southeast Colorado.  As the son of immigrant... More
Nick Beckstead and Mark Lee Nick Beckstead and Mark Lee - Under $1M
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
Nyla Rodgers Nyla Rodgers - Under $1M
I am an action person.  Lots of people are upset about the state of the world but don’t do anything about it.  My mother and I were never like that; we are doers. My mother spent her life giving to others, a virtue she passed on to ... More
Parmeet Shah Parmeet Shah - Under $1M
I grew up in what we call a joint family, in Mumbai, India. There were ten of us sharing the house: my parents, brother, grandparents, my uncle and his family. That connectedness is what I missed most when I moved to the West at age 18 to attend Yale... More
Philippe Cousteau Philippe Cousteau - Under $1M
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
Pilar Gonzales Pilar Gonzales - Under $1M
During the years I earned as much as $50,000-$100,000 a year, I gave 25-50% of my annual income. One year I earned a modest $16,000, a drop due to health issues – yet I still gave the same percentage of my income. My giving has now settled at 10-25%... More
Ram Dass Ram Dass - Under $1M
In the 1970s I was in India studying with my guru, Maharaji. One day he called me in and said, "Your father has a lot of money. . . . You are not to accept an inheritance." I was startled by his mandate, but it felt right to me. I hadn't been aware that I... More
Richard Semmler Richard Semmler - Under $1M
I'm not wealthy. I make my living as a mathematics professor at Northern Virginia Community College, plus two other part-time jobs, one as an editor and the other as a janitor. I earn in total a little over $100,000 per year. For the past ten years... More
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Chris Bartle Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Chris Bartle - Under $1M
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
Rose Feerick Rose Feerick - Under $1M
God has a wonderful sense of humor! For much of my adult life I have been engaging with money as a spiritual practice, trying to live simply and working for social justice. Recently, my teenage sons and I needed to relocate to one of the most affluent... More
Russell Roybal Russell Roybal - Under $1M
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
Timothy B. Timothy B. - Under $1M
After college I volunteered and lived in a Catholic Worker community. Dorothy Day started the Catholic Worker in the 1930's, as a radical way to follow Jesus' teachings and to work for social justice. In our local Catholic Worker community we lived simply on... More
Wendy Chang Wendy Chang - Under $1M
Justice is realized through moments in time – something you must see or experience to understand. There are two defining moments in my life that have shaped my view of social justice. When I was just about 5 years old, my family emigrated from... More
 
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