Why People Give
Our donors appreciate what Harvard Business School has meant for their lives, businesses, and careers, and want to ensure that the School continues to disseminate knowledge and educate leaders who make a difference in the world. While they share a common sense of commitment, their passions are as diverse as their lives. These are a few of their stories.
Class of 2005
For its 5th Reunion campaign, the Class of 2005 achieved outstanding results, in part because of its focus on raising support for individual fellowships.
What inspired them? "I got much more out of the School than I'll ever be able to give back," says Dan Gilbane, who co-led the effort with classmate Tony Sanchez. Gilbane, who works in his family's real estate business in Houston, Texas, named the fellowship he established in honor of his parents because of their commitment to education. "I know that tuition doesn't cover the cost of going to HBS and it is important to help out," he says.
"We focused on fellowships because it is easier to see the impact you are having," said Tony Sanchez. "Dan and I are both enthusiastic about the School, and working together made it a lot of fun." The Class of 2005's stellar efforts resulted in seven new current-use fellowship funds:
- Castaing Addimando Family Fellowship
- Alam-Rahmatullah Fellowship
- Thomas (AMP 93, 1984) and Mary Gilbane Fellowship
- Andrew Immerman and Janelle Lin Fellowship
- Andrew Marcus and Deborah Marcus Fellowship
- Tony and Maria J. Sanchez, Jr. Fellowship
- Pawan and Mallika Singh Fellowship
"I got much more out of the School than I'll ever be able to give back." — Dan Gilbane
"I really admire people who serve in the military. I believe they deserve our support."
During his service as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army in Ulm, West Germany, Maurice Pinto received an HBS admissions application in the mail from his father. "My father was always a big believer in education," says Pinto, now a semiretired private equity investor in London. "I was skeptical, but I'm so glad I listened to him. It was the best educational experience I've ever had."
After earning his MBA and working on Wall Street, Pinto joined the family investment business and eventually cofounded Sea Containers, a container leasing company in London. In 1990, he founded Priory Investments, a firm specializing in financing and/or buying small- and medium-sized businesses.
Inspired to make opportunities like his available to others who have served in the military, Pinto recently established a fellowship fund at HBS. While Pinto has supported a number of educational causes over the years, he is particularly proud that his HBS fellowship might aid veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I really admire people who serve in the military," he says, noting that part of his gift will be used to promote this opportunity to qualified veterans. "I believe they deserve our support."
"I hope our fellowship will inspire individuals who have demonstrated strong leadership skills to come to HBS to refine those skills."
For all alumni, HBS is someplace special, but for Scott and Laurene Sperling, the School has added meaning as the place where they first met. Today, their appreciation of what HBS has meant for both heart and head is reflected in their generous support for HBS fellowships.
"The fellowship program enables us to help people through this school, which has had an enormous impact on our lives," says Scott. "HBS was very formative for us in contributing to our success in so many areas. Helping others go through that is enormously satisfying."
Laurene agrees. "There isn't a single day that we don't use a skill we learned at HBS, and to see that other people have the benefit of that education is really wonderful," she says. "I'm humbled by the students' gratitude."
As alumni, the Sperlings have been actively engaged in the School, including serving on the Board of Dean's Advisors and the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. "This is a wonderful institution, and there is a great community of alumni involved," Scott adds.
Summarizing the motivation for their support, Laurene says, "I hope our fellowship will inspire individuals who have demonstrated strong leadership skills to come to HBS to refine those skills."
"I support fellowships because I think it is important to help students who have financial limitations and to make it easier for people who want to work in areas that are less lucrative."
The inspiration Sid Yog found at HBS has stayed with him, professionally and personally. "HBS was a defining two years for me: first, because I had a lot of fun and these were among the best years of my life so far. Second, the friendships fostered here have been carried forth," he says. "In large measure, if I look at my life over the last nine years, I see that the relationship to HBS is always present, directly or indirectly. I founded my company with a professor from HBS; half of my investors have a relationship with HBS. This support system enables you to go out and do things, to be part of things that you didn't think you'd be able to. It enables you to take greater risks. It enables you to dare to do mighty things. It enables you to translate dreams into reality."
But it's not enough to translate his own dreams; Yog wants to promote other dreams as well. "I support fellowships because I think it is important to help students who have financial limitations and to make it easier for people who want to work in areas that are less lucrative," he says. "The world needs leadership more than ever."
"This is my way of paying back and of paying forward-to help a young woman 30 years later."
Fresh out of HBS in 1978, Ann Moore did the unexpected and accepted the lowest-paying of 13 job offers, as a Time financial analyst, because she loved magazines. The unexpected turned into the unprecedented when she rose through the ranks to become the chairman and CEO of Time, Inc,. in 2002, presiding over an empire of more than 145 magazines, websites, and brand extensions.
Now retired, Moore reflects on the significance of her MBA. "I owe my career to HBS," she says. "It opened doors in the 1970s that would not have been opened to me as a young woman. When I retired from Time Warner after 30 years, they wanted to give me a gift, and I thought it appropriate to set up a fellowship to help women at HBS. On my desk for 30 years was a single sheet of paper that was from a women's organization in Washington, D.C., that had floated me a loan when I was in my second year. This is my way of paying back and of paying forward—to help a young woman 30 years later."
Today, HBS still plays a big role in her family. "Now my son is here, and it's a lot of fun 30 years later to see the transformation still happening," says Moore. "It is dramatic. We learned so much and my son is having that same, incredible experience."
The Buchan family "is honored to give back to an institution that has given us so much."
Growing up in rural North Carolina between two towns with fewer than 300 people combined, Duke Buchan dreamed big. After living in Spain during high school and college, and earning a BA in economics and Spanish at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Buchan established himself as a banker in Miami, Florida. Today, he's the CEO of Hunter Global Investors, a money management firm he founded just two weeks after 9/11.
"The HBS experience was transformational for me," Buchan says. "Case studies provided a framework to help address issues and solve problems, no matter how large or small." Reflecting on the School's international reach, Buchan notes, "From the student body, to the professors, to the case studies, a global perspective was constantly reinforced. That broad outlook has been invaluable throughout my career." HBS has personal meaning for him as well. "My best friends are HBS classmates."
The Buchan family "is honored to give back to an institution that has given us so much," says Buchan. "With our contribution, the School has the flexibility to direct resources to priority, high-impact areas. We are confident that our support will help take HBS students, professors, and the institution itself to a higher level."
"Supporting fellowships is a very direct way to give back... It's very fulfilling and very satisfying."
Many generous donors support the School. Some go further, assuming responsibility for fundraising at HBS. As HBS Fund Chair from 1998 to 2003, Bruce Johnstone led almost 1,000 volunteers each year and helped set a succession of fundraising records: the total raised from annual and reunion class campaigns during Johnstone's tenure was an impressive $180 million.
"At HBS I got an education that was directly related to my job, and I felt a great connection to the folks with whom I graduated," says Johnstone. "There's a real camaraderie at the
'b school.' I owe so much to this place and I wanted to give back, so I worked with administration and development people to figure out the best way to do so. For the past 10 to 12 years, I've focused on fellowships. Supporting fellowships is a very direct way to give back where you actually interact with the people you are supporting. It's very poignant and very personal. Over the years I have helped counsel students and young alumni on courses and career direction. Some invited me to play golf. I've met their parents and their friends. It's very fulfilling and very satisfying."
"I wouldn't be where I am today without HBS."
Since July 1, 2010, Paul Finnegan has served as HBS Fund Chair. Cofounder and co-CEO of Madison Dearborn, Finnegan is a very active member of the Harvard community. "I'm delighted to be part of the team responsible for encouraging fellow alumni to support and invest in the School," says Finnegan, noting that the School has had a tremendous impact on his life.
"Frankly," he says. "I wouldn't be where I am today without HBS." As Fund Chair, he works directly with the HBS development office to facilitate the fundraising goals of the School, serving as a strategist and consultant to staff and to fundraising volunteers. He authors appeal letters to alumni, encourages his fellow volunteers, and keeps the HBS alumni community informed of the goals and progress of the School's fundraising activities. Whether participating in volunteer conference calls or reaching out personally to thank donors, the fund chair is a visible and engaged leader for the entire fundraising team.
"I am proud to support HBS's mission of training leaders who make a difference."
For Debby Farrington, the road to HBS began at age 11 with a visit to the New York Stock Exchange. "I was fascinated," says Farrington, who majored in economics at Smith and was one of just nine women in her HBS section. Comfortable in the role of a pioneer, Farrington's early career included working as a securities analyst for Merrill Lynch in Asia, running a private equity firm, and serving as managing director of a Hong Kong merchant bank. In 1998, she founded StarVest Partners, a New York City–based venture capital firm with a focus on software-as-a-service, e-commerce, and internet marketing.
Farrington's business success is matched by her enthusiasm for HBS: she currently serves on the Visiting Committee and the HBS Club of New York board and has been an Alumni Board vice president, business plan contest judge, and section fundraiser. "My HBS experience was life-defining," she says. "A Harvard MBA leveled the playing field for me." Of her gift for the Dean's Fund, she says, "I am proud to support HBS's mission of training leaders who make a difference."
Thomas F. Frist III, MBA 1997
William R. Frist, MBA 2001
"Diversity is one of HBS's greatest strengths and the fellowship program allows HBS to attract the best and brightest." —Julie Frist
In 2005, HBS received a historic donation totaling $10 million for financial aid, the largest amount of support for student aid ever at the School. The investment consisted of a combined gift from the Frist family and the HCA Foundation. Over the past six years, the gift has supported nearly 100 students and recent graduates with financial aid or loan assistance.
HBS has many ties to the Frist family: Julie Damgard Frist, MBA 1997; Thomas F. Frist III, MBA 1997; William R. Frist, MBA 2001; and Patricia C. and Thomas F. Frist Jr., longtime friends of the School. Their gift provides financial aid for a wide range of students. "HBS gave us so many opportunities and we feel obligated to give back to this institution that gave us so much," says Julie Frist. "Tommy and I loved our experience here. We met here and took away so much from our two years: the section experience, the case method, the quality of the people. Diversity is one of HBS's greatest strengths, and the fellowship program allows HBS to attract the best and brightest regardless of their ability to pay." In addition to their support for financial aid, the Frists contribute generously to the Dean's Fund. Julie is also currently serving as Major Gifts Co-chair for her 15th Reunion Campaign.
"I ask you to reflect on the impact that HBS has had on your life, the unique opportunities it has afforded you in your work, and the extraordinary people you have had the good fortune to meet."
When Dick Spangler was tapped to lead HBS's first capital campaign with a mission to raise $500 million, he regarded the request as "the ultimate cold call." But it was one he was pleased to answer. In his initial campaign letter to fellow alumni, Spangler wrote, "I ask you to reflect on the impact that HBS has had on your life, the unique opportunities it has afforded you in your work, and the extraordinary people you have had the good fortune to meet."
Not surprisingly, Spangler's high ideals are matched by a deep personal connection to the School. "[The campaign] gave me a chance to learn more about Harvard Business School, an institution that has always meant a great deal to my family and me," he says. Together with his wife, Meredith, and family, Spangler made possible the building of a new campus center in 2001 and established a professorship, both of which bear the family's name.
"I was a student from 1954 to 1956, and my father was here in the fall of 1955," says Spangler about his family's HBS legacy. The two became the first father-son team at HBS. "This place means something to us. It was significant in my dad's life, my life, my daughter and son-in-law's lives. But more than that, [Spangler Center] was an opportunity to do something you hope will benefit people long into the future."