Waitress Receives Life-Changing Tip From Local Big-Hearted Philanthropist

Waitress Receives Life-Changing Tip From Local Big-Hearted Philanthropist

It’s the dream of many a waitperson: to go about your daily work routine until discovering that a patron has left you a generous tip of life-changing proportions. This dream became a reality for Melissa Mainier back in 2010, when one of her regular customers revealed himself to be a prominent philanthropist and offered to pay for her college tuition. Fast forward to 2014: Mainier is no longer working in the food service industry, and has been able to get her college degree and become a nurse, one of her lifelong dreams.

According to The Huffington Post, “Mainier had been on shift at the Peachtree Restaurant and Lounge in Harrisburg, PA, chatting with a regular customer, when she happened to tell him about her money troubles. She was working to pay her way through college, she told the older man, and was struggling under the weight of massive student loans.” Reportedly, the man said that he would like to help her pay for her college tuition, which came as a complete shock to Mainier at the time. How could a man I hardly know be willing to do something so generous? She asked herself.

The man that Mainier had been chatting with was none other than Benjamin Olewine III, a local philanthropist “known in the Harrisburg area for his big-hearted generosity,” The Huffington Post explains. Despite their hardly knowing each other, Olewine identified with Mainier’s tenacious spirit, and knew that he wanted to help her achieve her goals. Reportedly, Olewine’s fortune comes from the food service industry, where four generations of Olewines have thrived and given back to their communities. Olewine III has donated vital funds to local hospitals, academic institutions, wildlife initiatives, arts and cultural programs, and much more.

Perhaps the best part of this uplifting story is the fact that Mainier now works in the very hospital wing that was named for Benjamin Olewine III and his generous lifetime of giving. Both Olewine and Mainier continue to work to pay it forward, and have inspired many people to find ways to be generous in their own lives.

Image via ABC.


South African Billionaire Gives $10 Million to Fight HIV/AIDS

Patrice Motsepe
Patrice Motsepe. IMG: Flickr via World Economic Forum

Patrice Motsepe, who is a South African Billionaire, has given $10 million to help in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. During the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, the mining tycoon announced his donation to U2 singer and activist Bono, founder of (RED) campaign.

South Africa, where Motsepe is from, has one of the world’s highest HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rates. Roughly 6 million people, more than 17% of the country’s population, live with the virus according to the World Health Organization.

(RED) has raised more than $240 million since is founding in 2006 to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The funds are used for programs in eight African countries – South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

Motsepe, who made the gift through his Motsepe Family Foundation, applauded (RED) founder Bono, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other leading donors for the contributions they have made in fighting HIV/AIDS, but noted that there is still a lot of work to be done. ”Bono, the Gates Foundation, The Global Fund and various other donors and governments have done outstanding work in the fight against HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis, but there is still a lot of work to be done,” Motsepe was quoted as saying.


Zuckerbergs named top 2013 US philanthropists

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
Mark Zuckerberg married his college girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, in 2012.
IMG: via Facebook

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have been named joint top US philanthropists for 2013.

The recognition for the Zuckerberg couple came after their donation of Facebook shares to a Silicon Valley foundation, a donation worth more than $970 million. The donation of 18 million Facebook shares was the largest in the US for 2013.

The donation was made to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which manages and distributes charitable funds. The funds have been distributed across several sectors, mainly in education and health. Over the past two years, Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla have donated around 36 million Facebook shares to the foundation.

The donation surpassed philanthropist who have previously held the title, including Bill and Melinda Gates, who gave their foundation slightly more than $181.3 million last year. The Gates made a pledge in 2004 of about $3.3 billion that they have continued to honor.

The Chronicle’s ranking of the 50 donors who give the most to charitable causes shows that the wealthy contributed $7.7 billion last year. That’s 4 percent more than in 2012. Now that the economy is moving, the most generous donors are back and running with multimillion-dollar contributions across America.

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The Denver Art Museum Receives a Massive Gift from An Unlikely Art Collector

The Denver Art Museum Receives a Massive Gift from An Unlikely Art Collector
Denver Art Museum

At first glance, Frederic C. Hamilton may seem an unlikely fine art aficionado. After all, the philanthropist made his fortune in oil production and real estate, and is a most known for his business-related dealings. A lesser-known fact about Hamilton, who is widely considered to be one of America’s “oil pioneers,” however, is that he has served as Chairman Emeritus of the Denver Art Museum Board of Trustees for nearly three decades.

Recently, Hamilton donated 22 Impressionist landscapes to the Denver Art Museum, in what has become one of the museum’s most exciting new additions to its collection. The collective value of the donation, which came from Hamilton’s private art collection, hasn’t been formally appraised, but experts believe that it could amount to as much as $100 million. The gift is monetarily impressive, but the works by van Gogh and Cezanne are a priceless addition to the Denver Art Museum’s collection, which formerly contained no pieces by the two artists.

Denver Art Museum director Christopher Heinrich describes the magnitude of the donation, explaining how “This is a game-changing gift. […] We will have the biggest collection in the West of Impressionist art,” of what could potentially be the largest gift in the museum’s 120-year history. This is not the first time that Hamilton has donated to the museum; in 2006, he gave $20 million for a major expansion. It is the first time he has promised to donate actual works of art, which the museum will officially take possession of when he dies.

Hamilton is acutely aware of the significant impact this donation will have on the museum, and he justifies it by explaining, “Frankly, our museum is derelict in one significant area, and that is Impressionism.” The 22 artworks will allow the Denver Art Museum the same kind of reputation as world-class fine arts institutions, and as art critic Ray Mark Rinaldi explains, “A museum best known for its contemporary, Native American and Western art now has the responsibility – and possibility – of turning its fledgling Impressionism holdings into a world-class collection.”

Read more about the massive donation here.

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Mark Zuckerberg Made the Largest Donation of 2013

Mark Zuckerberg
Kobby Dagan /

Whatever your opinion might be of Mark Zuckerberg after the release of the Hollywoodized story of Facebook’s birth, there can be no question that he’s put a lot of his wealth into good causes. The founder of the world’s largest social media website and his wife donated 18 million shares of Facebook to charity both 2012 and 2013. In 2012, the shares were worth about $500 million; today they are worth about $992 million.

These donations are perhaps unsurprising, considering that Zuckerberg is a member of the prestigious “Giving Pledge” started by billionaires Warren Buffett and Melinda and Bill Gates in 2010. The pledge asks the world’s billionaires to promise to give away half their wealth or more to charity during their lifetimes or upon their deaths. The pledge has garnered many reputable names, including Richard Branson, Sara Blakely, and Michael Bloomberg. Gates himself plans on giving away a total of about $60 billion.

Zuckerberg isn’t the only billionaire pledging more money to charity these days, either; fourteen other Americans donated gifts of at least $100 million or more in 2013. The year before, eleven total donations of that scale were made.

Last year, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were second on the list of largest single charitable gifts. This year, they became the first billionaires under the age of 30 to land the top spot. Here’s the full list of the top ten donations made in 2013, provided by the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

  1. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan – $992.2 million – Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  2. Phil and Penelope Knight – $500 million (pledge) – Oregon Health & Science University Foundation
  3. Michael Bloomberg – $350 million (pledge) – The Johns Hopkins University
  4. Charles Johnson – $250 million (pledge) – Yale University
  5. Stephen Ross – $200 million (pledge) – University of Michigan
  6. Muriel Block – $160 million (bequest) – Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
  7. John Arrillaga – $151 million – Stanford University
  8. Irwin and Joan Jacobs – $133 million – The Jacobs Technicon-Cornell Innovation Institute at Cornell NYC Tech
  9. Charles Munger – $100 million (pledge) – University of Michigan
  10. David Koch – $100 million (pledge) – New York Presbyterian Hospital

Philanthropic People: Eli and Edythe Broad

Eli and Edythe Broad
Eli and Edythe Broad at an Art Museum Opening.
IMG: arcticpenguin via Flickr

Eli and Edythe Broad are lovers of art and culture, and are dedicated to social responsibility and to helping others in need. The husband and wife duo are lifelong philanthropists, with a net worth in the billions. By 2012, the Broads had given $3.5 billion to charities that benefit education, the arts, science, and the general public, and their multiple foundations are leaders in humanitarian work and monetary giving.

After spending many years engaged in entrepreneurial work with Fortune 500 companies, Eli Broad decided to retire from that line of work and focus all of his time and energy on philanthropy. His wife of 57 years, Edythe, couldn’t have been happier, and together, the couple has made a significant mark on various industries by giving back and proactively working to improve education, as well as the arts and sciences.

Because their desire to impact multiple civic arenas is so great, the Broads created not one, but four foundations that each focus on specific areas of humanitarianism. According to their overarching mission statement for the foundations, the goals the Broads have in mind include: “transforming K-12 urban public education through better governance, management, labor relations, and competition; making significant contributions to advance major scientific and medical research; fostering public appreciation of contemporary art by increasing access for audiences worldwide; leading and contributing to major civic projects in Los Angeles.”

Apart from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Broad Art Foundation, which have assets of $2.1 billion, Eli and Edythe also created sub-foundations that focus on science, education, and civic issues specifically. With a focus on the ways in which entrepreneurship can impact these areas, the Broads’ efforts have been particularly instrumental in advancing the arts and L.A.-based civic projects

One of the greatest recent achievements of the Broad Art Foundation is its creation of The Broad Art Museum, a new contemporary art museum built by Eli and Edythe on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The museum is set to open in late 2014, and will be home to nearly 2,000 works of art from the Broads’ personal collections and their art foundation. This museum is an extension of the original vision the couple had of creating a massive lending library of contemporary artworks, and is a physical symbol of the tremendous work they have done to advance the arts in America.

From science and medical research funding, to education grants and arts-based philanthropy, there are few industries that have remained untouched by the Broads’ immense generosity. For more information on these lifelong philanthropists, visit The Broad Foundations online.


For Bob Barker, the Price of Philanthropy is Right

Bob Barker on "The Price is Right"
IMG: fireballk2588 via Flickr

“Sharon Jones, come on down!”  This is something you may have heard on “The Price is Right” if you’re a TV fan.  In the old days, the show was hosted by the legendary Bob Barker.  Barker truly embraced his TV personality, even spoofing himself in the golf comedy Happy Gilmore.  To add to his fame, he is even mentioned in the Macklemore song “Can’t Hold Us.”

However, there is something you may not know about Bob Barker: he loves animals!

“I am one of millions of people who was just born with a deep love of animals. I have been devoted to animals since I can remember. As a kid I picked up strays and tried in my clumsy ways to help injured animals. I’ve done it all my life, and now I’m doing it on a much larger scale,” says Mr. Barker.

Barker gives his late wife, Dorothy Jo, credit for really turning him into an advocate, though.  Since retiring from showbiz, Barker has doubled down his efforts to turn things around for animals in distress.  One of his big pushes has been to ban elephants in traveling shows.  In order to try to achieve this, he testified before Congress.

Barker also made it clear he not only supports animals in the United States but all over the world.  He worked to pass a bill making it illegal to use animals in Bolivian circuses.  There were 84 lions being used at the time, which Barker paid to have sent to a sanctuary in Denver.

Just this year, Barker paid over $1 million to move three elephants from the Toronto Zoo to a sanctuary in California.  The sanctuary is called PAWS, or the Performing Animal Welfare Society.  Barker said one of his favorite memories was seeing the elephants let off the bus and into the sanctuary.

Recently Barker was contacted by the owner of the Texas-based Wildlife Reserve and Rehabilitation, who asked if he would donate $5,000 for an avian ventilator.  Barker personally called back to let her know that he wanted to donate 50 times as much instead to be used for other needed items for the sanctuary.  He followed up on that promise and donated $250,000.

However, one of the most touching stories is how Barker has supported ending illegal Japanese whaling.  He donated $5 million to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and now he even has a boat named after him.

At 90 years old, Barker has certainly had a long life and career.  He will forever be remembered for the work he has done for animals.


2013’s Philanthropic Buzzwords

Philanthropy Buzz Words
IMG: via Shutterstock

Lucy Bernholz, an author and scholar from Stanford University, recently published a list of the top philanthropy-related “buzzwords” of 2013. These words embody the trends the world of philanthropy saw this past year, as well as where those trends will lead next. Here are Bernholz’s picks for “Philanthropy’s 2013 Buzzwords“:

  1. “Privacy.” Privacy is what Bernholz considers to be the philanthropic buzzword of the year. As she explains, “Our pervasive reliance on digital communications makes us all vulnerable to disclosure of private data,” mentioning the importance of privacy for donors and clients.
  2. “Performance Management.” Measuring outcomes, operations improvement, and evaluating your success are all part of performance management, another 2013 buzzword.
  3. “Peer-to-peer Services.” Bernholz explains, “The lessons of the peer-to-peer economy and investment-capital expectations will be useful to all efforts to expand social enterprises.”
  4. “Constituent Feedback.” In 2013, getting timely feedback from beneficiaries has never been easier.
  5. “Makers.” With this buzzword, Bernholz is referring to those interested in DIY aesthetic, handmade things, and contemporary craftsmanship. She says, “One of the odd outcomes of the digital age is a newfound interest in old-fashioned handmade goods, such as wooden birdhouses and knitted sweaters.”
  6. “Bitcoin.” “A digital, nationless currency with a value that fluctuates at rates earlier seen only during dot-com booms,” Bitcoin is popular with nonprofits such as shelters and food banks.
  7. “Commons.” Bernholz explains, “Nothing has put the old-fashioned concept of resources held ‘in common’ back on the front burnder as powerfully as the metaphor of the Internet coupled with our collective fear of a warming planet.”
  8. “Metadata.” The “data about data,” that can be very useful in politics, human rights organizations, and much, much more.
  9. “Randomista.” Bernholz calls this a “tongue-in-cheek derogatory term for an evaluator or social scientist who believes that the only meaningful evidence is that which comes from randomized controlled trials.”
  10. “Soluntionism.” This buzzword pertains to digital innovation, new technological developments, and the resilience of our time.

What do you think of these philanthropic buzzwords? Are there any more that you would add?


NPR Receives Major Donations to Expand Its Coverage and Revitalize Its Programming

NPR LogoNational Public Radio (NPR) is a nonprofit membership media organization that exists as a national syndicator to a massive network of public radio stations in the U.S. The organization is funded with the help of public and private donations, and relies heavily on the generosity of the public. NPR is a renowned source for high quality storytelling, and vigorous reporting.

Recently, NPR received a massive donation from four major foundations, three NPR trustees, as well as other private donors, which totaled $17 million. The funds are reportedly going to help the national nonprofit broadcaster expand its news coverage in various areas, as well as improve its media platform. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, much of the donation will go towards NPR’s “listening platform,” which will “aggregate material from its national programming and from member stations and tailor it for individual listeners based on their location and preferences.” As NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher Bross explains, “What Pandora did for music, we’re hoping to do for spoken word and for news.”

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is reportedly giving $5.4 million, which will go towards the new listening platform, the organization itself, and member stations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also offered a generous donation, as did the Wallace Foundation and trustees and their spouses Paul and Heather Haaga, William and Lia Poorvu, and Howard and Fredericka Stevenson. Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson also reportedly donated $25,000 to the organization, a generous sum that was conditional upon 750 people signing up or renewing their memberships. Happily, the condition was met, allotting NPR even more funding, as well as many new memberships.

For more information about NPR, visit the organization’s official website.

Profiles Resources

High-Profile Chef, Jeff Ansorge, is the New Soup Kitchen Savior

High-Profile Chef, Jeff Ansorge, runs the kitchen at the Salvation Army
High-Profile Chef, Jeff Ansorge, runs the kitchen at the Salvation Army.
IMG: via The Salvation Army

You might envision mushy, lumpy potatoes or overcooked, limp vegetables when you think of the food served at a Salvation Army soup kitchen.  If you went to the one in St. Paul, Minneapolis, you would be very wrong.  Instead, think about pan-seared salmon that has been caramelized to give it a better “flavor profile.”  Think of delicious sauces and delectable fresh fruits and veggies.

When Jeff Ansorge applied for the job as the chef at the Salvation Army, those doing the hiring were skeptical.  Why would a man who worked as the executive chef at the Capitol Grill, one of the most prestigious restaurants in Minneapolis, want to work there?  He had previously been earning $100,000 per year and making dishes that cost almost $50 per plate or more.  The Salvation Army job paid just one-third of his previous salary, yet Jeff wanted the job.

Ansorge claimed that he wanted to serve and renew his commitment to his faith.  He was more than overqualified for the job, but the Salvation Army hired him in one second in October of 2012, feeling blessed to have him.

“The world as I had known it stopped making sense,” said Jeff, 40. “I was working to drive profit and my whole being – physically and mentally – was rejecting it. I needed to do something with my culinary skills to serve the Lord.”

Not only does Jeff run the kitchen, but he also sets up chairs and stocks napkin containers.  No job is too small for him, and he feels like this is where he belongs.  He even reads from the bible and talks to the patrons about the trials and tribulations of life.

One positive outcome of his work as the new chef is that he is serving less processed foods.  That means healthier fare for the diners and less money they have to spend on the food. Because he knows how to be creative with food, he has reduced the Salvation Army’s lunch cost to only $.63 per meal.

The new job was just as challenging as his old one since they are reliant on whatever donations come in each day.  One day a case of crabs showed up.  Jeff rose to the occasion and made Spanish seafood paella.  Every day is a new challenge, and that’s just how Jeff likes it.