Great Givers

Each day, we are moved and inspired by the generosity and creativity of both established and emerging donors who genuinely want to leverage their wealth for the common good. This section of our website will feature profiles of individuals, couples and families who we feel are exemplary in their giving.


This video, produced by TakePart with generous support from the Sidney E. Frank Foundation,  highlights the philanthropic journey of four donors – each of whom took different paths, but addressed similar questions and reached similar crossroads in finding and funding their passions. [Watch the video here]





Laurie Tisch says she grew up in a “family of generosity” where charitable giving was the norm. Strategic philanthropy, however, was neither mentioned nor practiced. “My father and uncle were successful and gave where they wanted,” she says. “I’m doing it in a little different way.” She pauses for a moment and adds with a smile in her voice, “Much more time-consuming.” [Read more about Laurie Tisch]



This is the story of one donor who, with his first major philanthropic gift, created an organization that The Advocate magazine called “The Most Important LGBT Group You’ve Never Heard Of.” Of course, it is very unusual for a donor to make such an impact on his or her first major foray into giving. In the case of Chuck Williams, this success did not happen by luck or simply being in the right place at the right time. [Read more about Chuck Williams]




I am a Philanthropist: Diverse Voices in Giving is a video produced by the D5 Coalition telling the stories of several diverse donors and what inspires their creative and effective philanthropy. [Watch the video here]



It sometimes seems as if Wallis Annenberg is single-handedly funding L.A., with all the community projects, art centers, and medical buildings that bear her name, Vanity Fair commented recently. Yet what sets Wallis apart from other philanthropists isn’t just her willingness to make large, catalytic grants to established organizations, it is her enthusiasm for building projects from the ground up. [Read more about Wallis Annenberg]





Celebrating their fifth anniversary, the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence produced this short video, featuring interviews with founders Barbara and Donald Jonas, leaders of the Center and affiliated organizations, scholars, and active nurses on the art and practice of nursing. [Read more about the Jonas Center on its website]



Charles “Chuck” Feeney might be the most famous anonymous donor in history. Since 1982 Feeney has given away billions, and aside from a very small circle of advisors, no one knew. While the tradition of anonymous giving is not new, Feeney’s commitment to anonymity existed for many years until it became clear that too many people knew his identity—and his secret was out. [Read more about Chuck Feeney]


When Lisa and Charly Kleissner need to make a big decision, whether it impacts family, investments, or philanthropy, they first look to their values. Since one of their strongest values is making a positive impact with everything they do, it should not be surprising that the Kleissners have made a key decision to ensure that all their assets are working toward improving the environment and the lives of people throughout the world. [Read more about the Kleissners]



Sidney Frank, a quintessential American entrepreneur, was known to remark often in his latter years, “I just love giving money away.” Frank, who made his fortune with innovative marketing campaigns that revolutionized the wine and spirit liquor industry, brought his own personal flair and perspective to his philanthropic giving. [Read more about Sidney Frank]



Oseola McCarty’s early life was ordinary. From the time she was a little girl, she worked doing laundry and ironing for families in Hattiesburg, living frugally and saving her money. And although she had never visited the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, located in her hometown, she made an extraordinary decision: She arranged to give the bulk of her life savings—$150,000—to the college for student scholarships. [Read more about Oseola McCarty]



Jon Stryker, grandson of Dr. Homer Stryker, the orthopedist who founded Stryker Corporation, a prominent medical device maker, is a leading American philanthropist and founder of the Arcus Foundation. Stryker has focused his giving efforts on championing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights as well as great ape conservation. [Read more about Jon Stryker]



Abby Rockefeller Mauzé was the eldest child and only daughter of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. Known as “Babs” to friends and family, she came of age in the era of the all-night parties of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. A strikingly beautiful young woman, Babs was sociable and rebellious, and as one of America’s most eligible women, found herself at the center of the public’s fascination. [Read more about Abby Mauzé]



Joseph Bento “JB” Fernandes, the grandson of Portuguese emigrants, was born in Trinidad in 1903. An astute businessman, he revolutionized rum production in the island nation. During his life, he conducted his philanthropy as private giving on an annual or ad hoc basis. It was not until after his death in 1992 that, at his instruction, a formal structure for his philanthropy was established. [Read more about JB Fernandes]



Against enormous odds, Madam C. J. Walker became the most successful African-American businesswoman and leading woman philanthropist of her era. Madam Walker was born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 in rural Louisiana to recently freed slaves. But Madam Walker was determined to succeed despite early hardships. [Read more about Madam Walker]


Over his 83 years of life, Andrew Carnegie created a legacy that continues to touch our lives today. He is best known for birthing the United States steel industry, which had a catalytic effect on American industrialization. This success alone would have earned Carnegie a secure place in U.S. history books, but it is what he did with his success that makes his achievements so remarkable. [Read more about Andrew Carnegie]



For the Rockefellers, giving has been a central family value that has spanned three centuries. The strong belief of early generations that wealth comes with great responsibility continues to inform the philanthropy of current generations, helping to shape their priorities and perspectives on giving. The family is now entering its seventh generation and has maintained its tradition of giving within each generation. This video, drawn from discussions between Rockefeller family members and the family historian, looks at the ideas, values, rituals and legacy of the family's philanthropy. [Read more about the Rockefellers]