It’s not uncommon for businesses to give to philanthropic causes, either through corporate sponsorship, company-led fundraising or volunteer service. Many business leaders take this philanthropy beyond the corporate level and choose to donate their time and personal wealth to charitable organizations and causes. The Giving Pledge is a recent and highly visible example of philanthropy from business leaders announced by billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010. The campaign challenges the world’s wealthiest individuals to pledge at least half of their net worth to charity. The Pledge has since grown and now includes more than 130 “pledgers”, including prominent billionaires like Richard Branson, Sara Blakely and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. In addition to those who have joined the Giving Pledge, many other business leaders and entrepreneurs are involved in philanthropic efforts, both domestically and abroad. Here’s a look at three Chicago business leaders who give their net worth to local, national and international causes:
Misha Malyshev serves on the global leadership council for buildOn, an international nonprofit organization that builds schools in developing nations and organizes after school programs within the U.S. BuildOn’s mission is the break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy through service learning programs in the U.S. and in some of the world’s poorest nations. In 2014, Misha Malyshev and his wife, Oksana Malyshev, donated $150,000 to buildOn to help complete the building of five schools in Africa and Central America. The five schools, located in Malawi and Nicaragua, now provide learning centers for 2,100 children, at least half of which are female students. Misha Malyshev has also used his net worth to help educational organizations domestically. In addition to serving as CEO of Teza Technologies, Dr. Malyshev also serves on the leadership council for After School All Stars and Adler Planetarium in Chicago, and is a regular sponsor of educational programs for K-12 students.
Mellody Hobson, President of Aerial Investments and Chair of the Board of Directors for Dreamworks Animation, is a champion of equal opportunity and education in Chicago. She recently pledged $25 million to After School Matters, a nonprofit organization that offers after school and summer programs for high school students in Chicago. The organization places teens in “apprenticeships” that allow them to explore careers in tech, science sports, the arts and more. In addition to serving on the organization’s board, Ms. Hobson serves on the leadership body of educational organizations in Chicago including the Chicago Public Education Fund and the Chicago Public Library.
Ann Lurie is President of the Ann & Robert Lurie Foundation and Founder of Africa Infectious Disease Village Clinics. As President of the Foundation, Ms. Lurie provides grants for educational programs, social services and art and health organizations. She began her philanthropic work when she founded and worked in an infectious disease clinic in Kenya. Over the years, she has invested more than $30 million in these health centers and is passionate about transforming healthcare in developing areas in Africa. In the U.S., Ms. Lurie serves on the National Institutes of Health board, and is well known for her donation to Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.