Major donors share what motivates them to give

Donors want to make an impact, support causes they are passionate about

Bradley J. Fikes explains in the San Diego Union-Tribune what inspired major donors to make San Diego a center of biomedical research and innovation. 

Thanks to a number of philanthropists, Fikes says, the San Diego area has become home to innovations in biomedical research and clinical care. Along with the University of California, San Diego, the region employs tens of thousands of people. A few of these donors shared how they come to the decision to donate their gifts.

Ernest Rady, a former financier, surprised Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego when he gave them $120 million—a bit more than the $20 million the hospital had asked for to establish a center for genomics.  Rady says he knew genomic medicine was growing fast as a tool to diagnose and treat patients with few other options, and he wanted to ensure the hospital could establish a "legitimate and significant research arm." 

Darlene Shiley, whose late husband co-invented the heart valve, has given over $100 million to causes for which she is passionate, such as Alzheimer's disease and education. She says she and her husband decided to enter philanthropy so they could see the impact of their gifts. Shiley says they both "fervently believed in the empowerment provided by education" because they both believed their education had made them successful.

Alan Gold, who was formerly in real estate, says he focuses on specific causes and organizations so he can better understand the institutions and steward his gifts. When looking for a new organization to donate to, Gold says he and his wife start with the causes they care about and go from there. "It's coming from our own passions," he says (Fikes, San Diego Union-Tribute, 3/25 [1]; Fikes, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/25 [2]; Fikes, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/25 [3]; Fikes, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/25 [4]).

Ask the right donors, at the right time, with the right appeal

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