Jimmy Lustig is an active philanthropist. He and his wife created the Lustig Family Foundation.

Tag: Small Donors

Robert Downey Jr.'s Latest Philanthropic Investment

Robert Downey Jr.’s Latest Philanthropic Investment

Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. has been covertly making headways into the world of environmental research the last few years. In 2019, Downey Jr. founded the Footprint Coalition, an organization geared toward supporting scientific research and sustainability technologies. Earlier this week, Downey Jr. revealed a new arm of the Footprint Coalition at the Davos Agenda of the World Economic Forum: Footprint Coalition Ventures. Downey Jr. explains that Footprint Coalition Ventures will be the investment branch of the organization and that its mission will be seeking out and supporting companies that research sustainability.

Downey Jr. went into further detail on the goals of Footprint Coalition Ventures in an interview with reporters from Fast Company. Downey Jr. explains that creating Footprint Coalition Ventures will put the Footprint Coalition in a better position to help answer vital sustainability questions. Continuing, Downey Jr. says that Footprint Coalition Ventures have two types of funds, one for preliminary investments and the other for subsequent investment opportunities. Furthermore, the company follows a rolling fund investment schedule. In this manner, investors will be able transfer funds to companies on a quarterly basis, making Footprint Coalition Ventures more accessible to different kinds of investors. Downey Jr. adds that such a schedule opens the company to as wide a pool of investors as possible.

Footprint Coalition Ventures focuses on funding companies that research in six areas, including food and agriculture, energy, education, and advanced environmental solutions. Thus far, five companies, including Arcadia Earth and Cloud Paper, have received funds from Footprint Coalition Ventures.

Looking to the future, Downey Jr. says that he plans on using his status as a celebrity to raise awareness on the Footprint Coalition and sustainability ventures in general. While many other celebrities who are involved in similar organizations tend to keep a low public profile, Downey Jr. feels that it is his responsibility to use his platform to influence others. Jonathan Schulhof, who runs the day-to-day business of Footprint Coalition Ventures, points out that the company has used a YouTube video of Downey Jr. detailing the differences between plastic and polyhydroxyalkanoate, a new type of sustainable polymer invented by RWDC Industries, to help woo investors. Schulhof continues that such content can inspire audiences by making something extraordinary seem commonplace.

Five Great Books About Philanthropy In 2020

Five Great Books About Philanthropy in 2020

With so many options out there, how – and why – should people consider giving? The five books below provide many answers to these and other questions, making for fascinating reading, both inspirational and impactful.

One of the best guides to the giving process is the traditional Inspired Philanthropy: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Giving Plan and Leaving a Legacy, by Tracy Gary. Efficient covers everything from the basics of plan making, working with advisors, the right questions to ask non-profits, and much more. The inclusion of worksheets, resource lists, and descriptions of planning tools is beneficial.

The Promise of a Pencil, by Adam Braun, tells the story of how one man’s actions impacted thousands of lives globally. After encountering a begging child and starting with only $25, Braun built an organization that has helped build over 250 schools worldwide. Inspirational and uplifting, if ever there was an argument for the power of giving, this is it.

In The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources, Lynne Twist offers positive proof that changing our attitudes towards earning and spending money can make our lives more meaningful and fulfilling. Challenging everyday assumptions about society’s views of money, the author illustrates her journey from conspicuous consumer to non-profit activist in an honest, no-punches-pulled way.

Sharna Goldseker and Michael Moody bring a fresh perspective in Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors Are Revolutionizing Giving. Moving between first-hand accounts and analysis of a new class of doner’s work, the book shows the impact of young rising stars of philanthropy in disrupting traditional giving models and creating entirely fresh approaches to the field.

Another disruptive approach to giving is Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference by Antony Bugg-Levine and Jed Emerson. The new field of impact investing is thoroughly explained, showing how it’s possible to “blend” investment success with positive change.

This year, perhaps more than in most, it’s essential to consider how a charitable contribution can positively impact peoples’ lives. The wisdom and practical advice that abound in the five volumes discussed will hopefully inspire and energize in equal measure.

Jimmy Lustig Can Small Donors Impact Philanthropy

Can Small Donors Make an Impact in Philanthropy?

It’s a commonly held belief that giving small amounts to philanthropy is pointless. Change can’t be done with just a few dollars, so donations should be left to those who can give in large sums. However, that type of thinking prevents change from happening. Small donors can still help to change the world with their philanthropic giving. Many small funders are uniquely positioned to be the catalyst for lasting change. Family foundations especially have the opportunity to help make a change in their communities, even if they are donating in small amounts. Here are three ways that small funders can have a more significant impact in philanthropy.


Small funders serve smaller areas, meaning they can build stronger relationships

Strong relationships are the foundation of lasting impact in philanthropy. Small donors can use those relationships to inspire larger groups to give. Think of a small community where the local hospital is slated for closure. A small funder that is connected to their community can rally everyone up to voice their support for the effort to save the hospital. This movement would have nothing to do with how much money the philanthropist gives, but everything to do with the connections they’ve been able to make with others.


Small funders can be more responsive and agile than larger ones

Without huge staffs and large boards, small donors and family foundations can make decisions quickly and deploy resources much quicker than large philanthropies can. With large organizations, it sometimes takes weeks to send out much-needed relief. When dealing with disasters in the local community, most small funders can approve emergency funding and send out relief within 24 hours. Quick response times have a significant impact on the people affected by natural disasters and help them to get back on their feet quicker.


Small funders can take risks

Risk is essential to philanthropy, and no one understands this better than small donors. While large foundations may also realize the importance of risk, they have barriers and safeguards in place that prevent them from taking advantage of the little opportunities that turn into considerable successes. Small funders can invest in a program that seems promising but has no proof that it will work. A modest investment may be precisely what the program needs to see success.

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