Bolder Giving - Give More, Risk more, Inspire more
Back to Story Library - Givers by Amount of Wealth - -
Alexander Gaguine Alexander Gaguine - $1-$10M
When I was 44, I could have received a substantial inheritance.  Instead, I persuaded my dad to change his estate plans so nearly all the money went directly into a charitable foundation.  In the years before and after my father’s death... More
Anjhula Mya Bais Anjhula Mya Bais - $1-$10M
By nature of what I do as a fashion model, as an ex MTV VJ (video jockey), and celebrity often in the spotlight, I feel the need to be a vocal role model.  I need to let it be known that I am a bold giver so that I can encourage and inspire others to do... More
Barbara Meyer Barbara Meyer - $1-$10M
My wealth was serendipitous from the beginning. In 1912, my father began delivering packages at age 12 for a small start-up company that became the United Parcel Service.  He stayed with UPS most of his life, and when he died in 1964, left $250,000 to my... More
Barry Barry - $1-$10M
I inherited a half million from my parents in my early twenties, and then another $2 million from other relatives. I later received $7 million in settlements arising from my family’s losses as Jews in Nazi Germany. From an early age I was troubled... More
Becky Liebman Becky Liebman - $1-$10M
I was happily working as a reference librarian for many years when serious money came to me. This threw me for a loop. Suddenly I was faced with questions like, “What is real work?” and “Could I be more pro-active in the things I say I care... More
Betsy Betsy - $1-$10M
I was in my mid-20’s (20 years ago) when I inherited $300,000 (about $500,000 in today's dollars). Working full-time in the anti-nuclear movement, I lived simply and had no dependents, so it seemed logical to give the money away, mostly to groups doing... More
Bob Hadley Bob Hadley - $1-$10M
My wife Judy and I don’t aim to give a specific percentage of our income--we simply give each year as we feel led. Only when I prepare our tax return do we see what the total represents. I firmly believe that proportionate giving is what we are supposed... More
Bob Kaplan Bob Kaplan - $1-$10M
In 1986 my mother passed and left me $350,000 [about $600,000 in today’s dollars]. For two years I gave small amounts away and used the income to support myself in work and projects I was drawn to. Then I had a crystal clear intuition that it was time... More
Brad Brad - $1-$10M
I got started young in philanthropy and service. I was seven when I organized my first fundraiser, a lemonade stand with neighborhood kids. My parents, who required all of us children to contribute 10% of our allowances to charity, were very philanthropic. ... More
Brad Seligman Brad Seligman - $1-$10M
Fourteen years ago, when I used my money and legal expertise to start The Impact Fund, I never dreamed we’d be leading the largest class action suit in history. I was brought up in a Jewish middle class family, where we sat around the table and talked... More
Brendan Martin Brendan Martin - $1-$10M
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
Brian Kaminer Brian Kaminer - $1-$10M
After working 17 years in the financial markets, I began to realize a difference between trading value (what I was doing) versus creating value.  Creating value represented the opportunity to make an improvement and provide a long-term benefit to this... More
Chimu Chimu - $1-$10M
I discovered my life’s special purpose by stumbling upon it.  This journey led me to open my heart and wallet to help those less fortunate by founding the Inti Raymi Fund and Adrenaline Philanthropy. In 1992, you would have found me in a suit and... More
Daniel Susott Daniel Susott - $1-$10M
When I was a little boy, I prayed every night, "Please help all the poor people in the world to be rich!" By this, I meant, for all people to be safe and to have their bellies full as mine. My heroes were Tom Dooley and Albert Schweitzer, both "jungle... More
David Akers David Akers - $1-$10M
I grew up in a family that passed on values and faith, and my adult life has been guided by those roots. Early on we learned that a part of our allowance was to go into the church offering basket each Sunday. My mother taught me that life isn’t fair-... More
David Becker David Becker - $1-$10M
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 - $1-$10M
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
Elspeth Gilmore Elspeth Gilmore - $1-$10M
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
Frank and Ruth Butler Frank and Ruth Butler - $1-$10M
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 - $1-$10M
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 - $1-$10M
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
Gigi Coyle Gigi Coyle - $1-$10M
My giving has followed a heart path, not a master plan. I was stopped in my tracks by inheriting money in 1978. I felt immobilized, unable to continue my job in international development or the life I had known. I went to the desert to ask for guidance. My... More
Grigor McClelland Grigor McClelland - $1-$10M
I am an only child, born in 1922. I attended a Quaker school, was a conscientious objector in WW2, and joined the Quakers in 1942, sharing Quaker concerns for social harmony and social justice. My father built up a successful grocery business from 1907, which... More
Hal Taussig Hal Taussig - $1-$10M
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
Harriet Dennison Harriet Dennison - $1-$10M
I recently passed all the assets of the Oregon portion of our family foundation to two community organizations, freeing myself from my job of philanthropist. For over two decades, philanthropy had been my deeply satisfying work ... but then it became time... More
Helen LaKelly Hunt Helen LaKelly Hunt - $1-$10M
It is a powerful thing, watching people come together to move the needle toward greater justice; even more so to participate. When I have done so, faith has always played a part. I call myself a follower of Jesus Christ. No one cared more... More
Ian Fuller Ian Fuller - $1-$10M
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
Jamie Schwesnedl Jamie Schwesnedl - $1-$10M
I grew up in the punk rock scene. Our slogan was D.I.Y. – Do It Yourself. Since I was 16, I’ve known that if we want the world to be a fairer place with justice for everybody, we have to do it ourselves. When I lived in New Orleans, I tutored... More
Jeff Zinsmeyer Jeff Zinsmeyer - $1-$10M
A funny thing happened on the way to creating a foundation.  While working at the Center for Community Change, my good lawyer friend Tom Asher called.  He was completing IRS paperwork to setup my new foundation, but we had no name.  To complete... More
Jennifer Easton Jennifer Easton - $1-$10M
Before my mom died in 1991, she changed her will so that my sister and I could choose, if we wished, to give our inheritances charitably instead of taking them personally. Which we both did. Since then, I’ve given over 50% of my net worth, mostly to... More
Jenny Ladd Jenny Ladd - $1-$10M
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
Jim Whitton Jim Whitton - $1-$10M
In 1982, I was 25 years old, living in NYC, doing international banking in the Asia Pacific region for Chase Manhattan.  I didn’t love banking – nor was I particularly good at it.  One day a friend invited me to something called... More
Joel Solomon Joel Solomon - $1-$10M
I grew up in a liberal Jewish household in Chattanooga, Tennessee. My father, also Joel Solomon, was a pioneer and social innovator in his time. As a Jewish man dealing with the prejudices of the South in the fifties and sixties, the local business world... More
John Mauriel John Mauriel - $1-$10M
I recently retired. For the next few years I have a financial windfall coming in – from an arrangement that was set up decades ago, when a company on whose board I served let me defer compensation and put it into stock. My wife and I decided to give... More
Jonathan Frieman Jonathan Frieman - $1-$10M
Because I have no children or family in need, I have more than enough to live on comfortably. That enables me to give away almost 2/3 of my income per year, which is about the salary of a VP at a large corporation. This is a wonderful privilege and I love... More
Karen Pittelman Karen Pittelman - $1-$10M
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
Kevin and Hannah Salwen Kevin and Hannah Salwen - $1-$10M
Our family is a fairly prototypical American foursome: my wife, Joan, and I live with our two teenagers in a nice house with two dogs. The kids play baseball and volleyball, we like to ride bikes and take family vacations. On the financial front, we have more... More
Laurie Emrich Laurie Emrich - $1-$10M
In my twenties I inherited enough money to live without a paid job. I had grown up in Denver in a culturally Jewish family that emphasized Tikkun Olam, the value of healing the world through economic and social justice. I took these values to heart and... More
Leslie Brockelbank Leslie Brockelbank - $1-$10M
My husband and I were activists working with many groups, for peace and justice. We contributed money to these groups but mostly we ‘sat on’ our money. We kept waiting for the issue, or the opportunity significant enough to give half of our... More
Levani Lipton Levani Lipton - $1-$10M
Meeting the people you help is a transformative experience. My mother and I journeyed to Malawi to visit a community-based organization in the countryside town of M’chenga. Leaving the capital of Lilongwe, we traveled along dusty roads and arrived at a... More
Margaret Lloyd Margaret Lloyd - $1-$10M
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
Marilyn Marilyn - $1-$10M
Fifty years ago when the family stock was sold and we were about to get $2 million [over $8 million in today’s dollars] my husband and I looked at each other, “We don’t want to be that rich.” So we gave away half, finding a foundation... More
Marji Greenhut Marji Greenhut - $1-$10M
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 - $1-$10M
“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
Marnie Thompson Marnie Thompson - $1-$10M
Well before my father died I came to the conclusion that if he willed me an inheritance, I would give it back — not to his estate, but rather to the wider world from which it had come. Though I believe my dad was a very good, very smart man, I did not... More
Mike Hannigan Mike Hannigan - $1-$10M
Every year our Bay Area office supplies company, Give Something Back, allocates money for our customers to donate, for our employees to donate, and for my co-founder Sean Marx and myself to donate. We don't give a fixed percentage of the profits. We make a... More
Mike Lapham Mike Lapham - $1-$10M
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
Millard Fuller Millard Fuller - $1-$10M
Following in my dad’s footsteps, I started a business that made me a millionaire by age 29. I was ruthless at making money and proud to be able to buy anything imaginable. I didn’t realize the downside, until my wife and kids left me for taking... More
Milt Lauenstein Milt Lauenstein - $1-$10M
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
Paula and Barry Litt Paula and Barry Litt - $1-$10M
Political activism for social justice has always been an important part of our life. We both became radicals while we were still in high school in the 1960’s and were deeply involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements. After we married, we... More
Ralph Alpert Ralph Alpert - $1-$10M
My parents didn't have a lot of money for much of their lives, but were generous nonetheless. My father's business became successful, and when I sold my share in 1984 I had considerable wealth. I had been working as a lawyer and investing my earnings, so I... More
Randolf Randolf - $1-$10M
I’m 77 now, and have been giving substantially from my inheritances since I was 32. Since 1997, I’ve been giving $200,000+/year, 50% of my adjusted gross income. I’ve been inspired to be a giver, first, by my Christian faith: I was a... More
Robert Graham Robert Graham - $1-$10M
I am a retired businessman who has spent most of my last 20 years as a social entrepreneur in building nonprofits, personal service, and philanthropy. In the early 1980s I got the idea that I would devote half my time and resources to helping other people,... More
Ruth Ann Harnisch Ruth Ann Harnisch - $1-$10M
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
Sam Sam - $1-$10M
I was twenty years old when I received my first inheritance of $10,000 from my grandmother. I’ve never felt so wealthy, before or since. It only took me six months to blow it all on well-meaning but ultimately foolish investments and unpaid loans. By... More
Tammy Tammy - $1-$10M
My investment income is close to $90,000 annually. I give between 50% and 100% of it away. It means I’m spending down my capital to cover my living expenses, but I’ve got a financial plan & I’m certainly not going to want for anything in... More
Tom Van Dyck Tom Van Dyck - $1-$10M
I’m a child of corporate America. My stepdad worked at Gillette, Schick, started his own company and finally became the CEO of Cuisinart. Our family experienced the best and the worst of corporate culture: ambition, hard work & upward mobility,... More
Tracy Gary Tracy Gary - $1-$10M
I’m an evangelist for inspired philanthropy: inspired living and inspired giving! Over the past 30 years, I have spent an average of 200 days a year on the road – giving keynotes and workshops at donor conferences, meeting with wealthy families,... More
 
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