Philanthropist to Describe a Path Less Traveled

April 27, 2010

It takes a very special person to give away all her inheritance and devote her life to philanthropy. One might even call that woman a confident, compassionate changemaker.

Tracy Gary certainly fits this description. As the keynote speaker for Mary Baldwin’s 168th Commencement, Gary, heir to the Pillsbury fortune promises to enthuse and empower the Class of 2010.

Inspired by the social and economic justice movements of the 1960s, Gary set a goal: to give away her fortune by the time she turned 35 and encourage other wealthy families to become “social-change donors.” For the past 25 years, Gary has championed efforts to save the environment, protect women, and enhance the opportunities for numerous disenfranchised groups across America.

Gary also strives to encourage others to give freely to their community and organizations they feel compassionate about. Her book, Inspired Philanthropy, is a how-to of giving that stresses importance of generosity. It encourages young people to lead boldly with fresh ideas to improve the lives and legacies of others; posses a spirit and vision that is bigger than their lives; act as transformative givers who empower generosity; and ignite a movement, carry a campaign, and persist through any obstacle.

Remind you of anyone? A Boldly Baldwin woman, perhaps?

In an effort to encourage women and youth philanthropy, Gary co-founded the organization Inspired Legacies through which she creates a powerful network of donors who want to move from what she terms “obligatory giving” to “inspired giving.” She has also helped found 18 other non-profits including Women Moving Millions, Changemakers, Resourceful Women, and Women’s Funding Network.

Gary’s message speaks directly to the Mary Baldwin mission. By taking risks and giving one’s time and energy (and a bit of cash never hurts), the confident, compassionate changemakers of the world can help the world, find solutions, and make a difference.