Promising Futures:
The Unexpected Rewards of Engaged Philanthrophy

Margot Welch

“Have we the will to make a difference in the lives of children?” asks Gene Lang, founder of the I Have a Dream Foundation®. Twenty-five years ago he impulsively promised to put a group of sixth graders through college if they finished high school. What happens to philanthropists who commit themselves to nurturing low-income children through school and on to higher education and mature, responsible citizenry? Often successful entrepreneurs, they’re used to solving problems and taking charge. But they find themselves experiencing the inadequacies of public education, the inefficiencies of social service systems, and powerlessness. And everything changes. They start fighting for tutoring, after school programs, hot breakfasts, housing, eyeglasses, health and legal services. They create new foundations, schools, businesses, and community programs. And the chance to build lasting connections with children is “life-changing in terms of impact,” “a blessing,” “absolutely transformative,” “an enriching lifetime experience.” Investing in children has extraordinary returns.

The bottom line? We got more from it than the kids. Anybody who’s rich can write a check. No big deal. But if you can give your time, energy, guts, your abilities to help others, well, that’s the true meaning of giving. The reward.

I can’t end world poverty or war by myself. But to improve the chances that these kids will have a productive, happy life is very gratifying. I really feel, at my core, that this is a good thing for me to do. When I close my eyes to die, I will feel I have had a good life.

Review: Harvard Graduate School of Education

Review: Chronicle of Philanthropy

Letter of praise

Press release from
The I Have a Dream Foundation

260 pages, paperback
ISBN 9781883-20185
Regular price: $15.00

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