The decision to become philanthropically active two decades ago was an easy one for me. So many factors compel me to give back, but a few stand out.
First, philanthropy is my way of giving thanks for the opportunities I have had and my personal attempt to perpetuate the American dream. I started my career with nothing but opportunity. Thirty years later, I’m in a position where I can give back to society to try to improve lives and ensure that others have the same opportunities that I did. Here, we have a cycle of giving that helps to position the less advantaged to earn their own success — and then hopefully give back as well.
Another reason I have joined in the giving pledge is that I want to inspire others to give. In fact, it took me some time to become comfortable with publicly stating my intention to give at least half of my wealth over my lifetime because I’ve always viewed philanthropy as a personal and private matter. I cross this threshold now with the hope that others will follow the example that all of the giving pledge participants have set. And closer to home, my wife Eva and I have always believed that our children will learn more from example than being told what to do, and it is our hope that they will be similarly inspired.