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Extraordinary Philanthropists

Monty Hall, host and co-creator of TV game show “Let’s Make a Deal,” passed away on September 30, at age 96. During his life, he estimated that he helped generate $700 million in giving. In 1988, Mr. Hall, who was born in Canada, was named to the Order of Canada by that country’s government in recognition of the millions he had raised for a host of charities. I don’t think the public was aware of his philanthropy, but he is one of many people all around us who give, quietly, modestly, and generously. Apparently, back in 1942, Monty had a job as a laborer and a stranger offered to pay for his college education on condition that he repaid the money, got top grades, kept his benefactor’s name anonymous, and agreed to help someone else. He kept accomplished the goals, graduated with a degree in Chemistry from the University of Manitoba, and kept his benefactor’s name secret for more than 30 years. He credited a second incident during his youth for spurring his extreme engagement in philanthropy. When Monty was seven, he was severely burned by a pot of boiling water and had a lengthy recovery. He said, “when you’ve been that sick you identify with people who have ailments and sicknesses, and when you grow up poor you identify with people in need.” His giving was extensive; hospital wards were named in his honor at Mount Sinai Hospital and Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. And, he was also a great entertainer! Last Wednesday night we held a “Celebration of Giving” to bring together those responsible for, and those benefitting from, the more than $100 million that has been granted out by the Community Foundation over the past 19 years. $100 million is an astounding figure, and a surprising one because many people give quietly and modestly through the Community Foundation of Western Nevada. The Community Foundation, launched in 1998, was the vision of our founding board members including our chief founder Jim Webster and his team, which included David Turner, Bob Armstrong, Ron Zurek, Nancy Fennell, and Mark Knobel. When I joined the group, succeeding Gracie Bartholet as the second Executive Director in 2000, Bruce James, Col. Bill Van Allen and Kathie Dees were also on the board. Since our inception, the leadership of 95 former and current board members has resulted in this giving milestone Our Board Chairs have included Jim Webster, Jennifer Satre, Norma Webster, Linda Smith, Tom Hall, and Jim Pfrommer. Extraordinary leadership resulted in extraordinary results. Monty Hall set a high bar for giving, and also I think for living. The people we work with in northern Nevada are in the same league. 8,600 grants made have been made possible by more than 5,000 donors who have given to and through the Community Foundation. I also admire another set of donors waiting in the wings, who have put in place wonderful “Legacy” gifts through their estate planning. It will not take another 19 years to give out the next $100 million. We are well on our way - in fact, more than $5 million in grants has been given out since February. If you’d like to learn more about how you can give, quietly, anonymously, and with impact, please give us a call at 775-333-5499. Let’s make a deal! Chris Askin, President, and CEO Connecting people who care with causes that matter