For 20 years I have given over $1 million a year to the Abraham Fund Initiatives, which I founded to support co-existence in Israel among Jews and Arabs. Of my annual giving of $4-5 million, I give 2/3 to co-existence projects and 1/3 to Jewish projects. I've given between 30% and 50% of my income for the past 20 years, while being a principal of Halcyon Asset Management, LLC, a hedge fund specializing in corporate event and distressed investing.
We need a word that captures the vision of people being able to get along with each other. "Co-existence" is that word. Unfortunately, so many believe that human nature is unchangeable and people can't get along with each other. I've had powerful experiences that have taught me otherwise. For instance, since the late 80's I have worked with people in Northern Ireland who believed, despite hundreds of years of evidence to the contrary, that they could make peace. Now the faith and labor of those people have come to fruition, and they have co-existence in their country. Similarly, other countries have been able to develop on civil policies fostering social inclusion and mutual respect.
I'm excited that the Club of Madrid, an international network of 70 former heads of state committed to strengthening democracy around the world, has taken a recent interest in exploring how to promote co-existence, mitigating conflict, and living together better despite differences.
My vision is that co-existence will become institutionalized into a field that everyone recognizes. In the environmental field people now recognize that we have to learn how to live on this planet in a sustainable way. Similarly, we need equally a field of co-existence so we can learn to better live with each other respectfully. I envision this would eventually permeate our society from the macro to the micro, from government ministers helping every citizen in every country to feel safer, to co-existence classes taught in all the schools so our children can feel safe. Mutual respect for all difference, whether religious, color, or nation, can become accepted world wide as normative. We must all work towards creating a world safe for difference.
Alan died on February 4th, 2011. You can read more about his life and giving in the New York Times
, as well as, in a remembrance from the Threshold Foundation newsletter.
| West | 60 plus Years Old | $10-$25M | at least 50% | Business |
| International | Passion |