Passion-filled Philanthropist

When people ask me about my blog, I simply say it’s a forum to write about my passions. The list is not complete without including my passion to philanthropy, though it may not seem at first blush, as sexy sounding as the other topics I muse about, bear with me a sec.

I believe philanthropy is about supporting passions. And even more altruistically, it’s that old English proverb:

He who plants a Tree Loves others besides himself.

Dwelling upon this concept for a minute, you can imagine how totally and completely inspired I was to hear this news a couple weeks ago relating more to a Buckeye Tree of sorts:

Leslie (Les) Wexner, CEO of Limited Brands Inc. and his wife recently gave The Ohio State University, a $100 million dollar gift!

As a professional fundraiser this touched a “Damn, that’s IMPRESSIVE” chord.  As an alum., it spoke to my “GO BUCKS and Hell Yah!” feelings. As a person it deeply struck my “How visionary to be this generous” radar.

When asked about being a leader and taking risks, Wexner says “Whatever you do, you have to have a passion about it, whether you play basketball, or business, or law or medicine. I think you have to pursue your interests with a full heart of passion and curiosity.”

At a ceremony celebrating his $100 million gift to Ohio State University, Wexner asked students to make the world a better place by pursuing their passions. “I’d like you to ask yourself, ‘Are you living a really constructive life?  When you look in the mirror, are you a person you would be proud to meet?”

Image: Design Milk

This definitely makes me think.

The gift will benefit The Ohio State University Medical Center and The Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. It will also benefit Ohio State’s Wexner Center for the Arts and select other university initiatives.

Pondering the impact of this kind of investment boggles my mind. Will it help to cure cancer?  Will it spur medical innovation?  Will it inspire the next Picasso?

Pablo Picasso, Jacqueline Rocque. 1954  Image:

Wexner’s gift is the largest that Ohio State has ever received and among the biggest to a public educational institution.

I think I’m going to at least take a walk through the Arboretum this afternoon.


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