After the $4.3 billion sale of my company over a year ago, most people expected I’d sail off into a comfortable retirement. But as most of you know by now, I had better plans.
With the spring launch of my new business venture, Beyond, I am in a position to secure long-term funding for Give Something Back, the nonprofit I founded more than 10 years ago to help send lower-income kids — including those in foster care and those with an incarcerated parent — to college. This organization is my passion. And when you have a passion as impactful as this one, sailing off into retirement on a fancy yacht just doesn’t make any sense.
So, you can imagine the thrill I felt when I returned from a recent family reunion in Colorado to find a $50,000 contribution to Give Back in my mailbox. It was sent to me by two friends and payments industry executives in California — Chris Chang, CEO/president of U.S. Bankcard Services, Inc. (USBSI) and Martin Lanyan, vice president of USBSI.
I invited both Chris and Martin to the recent $1 million check presentation at our new partner, Chapman University, where they became even more passionate about Give Back’s mission. Here’s what Chris said to me regarding the donation:
Our previous visit to Give Back’s Chapman University event showed us how Give Back helps children of incarcerated parents get through college. Your words today made it even more real. They put into perspective how the benefit of one contribution does not just impact one person — but the surrounding family, fellow students, and communities that will all be influenced.
Chris and Martin are special people and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for their generosity and kind words. Because of Chris and Martin, five students from California who live in foster care, are homeless or whose parents are incarcerated will have a promising future.
This gift is transformational.
We are going to begin the application process for current ninth graders this fall in California, one of Give Back’s newest states, and we plan to select scholars for our program in the Spring of 2018. We will assign a mentor to these students and coach them through high school so they will be prepared for the rigors of a college education.
Upon graduation from high school, Give Back will first send these students to a local community college for two years and then they will head to one of our four-year partner colleges in California, which currently includes Chapman University and California State University, San Bernardino.
Along the way, these students will serve as an inspiration for other young people who come from similar adversity. They will have the potential to become leaders in their communities. And, they will break the nasty cycle of poverty and incarceration in their families, quite possibly, forever.
Imagine for a moment if I did sail off into that comfortable retirement. Nah, I don’t even want to think about it.