Sheila Barry Driscoll, Co-founder of Billionaire Foundation talks about making a positive difference in the world by devoting resources and time.
By Mariett Ramm
“Is the rich world aware of how four billion of the six billion live? If we were aware, we would want to help out, we’d want to get involved.”- Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft and the hBill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Philanthropy has been the topic of discussion at every global family office event this past year. Understanding philanthropy is about understanding the single-family office phases and functions, but more importantly, the resources, tools, and infrastructure used to increase the impact of each charitable donation towards a specific cause. Once a millionaire or billionaire family reach a certain level in investing and business, they then begin to move from “success to significance” with their philanthropic interests and causes. Their focus on their foundation work and charitable giving tied into their family legacy now becomes as much if not more important than their original investments.
The 1B+ philanthropic space has been inefficient and fragmented, as only the top 10 or 20 foundations ran by the most highly recognized billionaires were being talked about in certain closed circles.
So, a true pioneer was born.
The Billionaire Foundation was founded through Sheila Barry Driscoll who is the great-granddaughter of Richard O. Driscoll, Driscoll Strawberries, and Richard Wilson’s who is the founder of the Family Office Club and Billionaire Family Office. This extraordinary humanitarian organization helps coordinate the global philanthropic landscape. The extensive work of Sheila and Richard now covers activities with over 85 billionaire families.
Sheila was born with Philanthropy in her genes. She grew up with the understanding that one needs to give to one’s communities, nation, and the entire world. Sheila’s Irish great-grandfather established his strawberry planting business in the Shasta Valley. Later, the family moved down to the Central Coast and over the years created a family business with great trust in philanthropy. “My parents were very philanthropic and I throughout the years went through many stages of philanthropy, not only working for a non-profit and creating nonprofits but now advising and giving philanthropic expertise to nonprofits and donors for people who want to continue their sustainability and want to continue the impact that they’re giving can have”- Sheila Barry Driscoll.
Social and the environmental impact of philanthropy have their own community’s countries across the globe. The collaboration of Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates transfixed the nonprofit world when they announced the big philanthropic merger in the history of their partnership “The Giving Pledge.” Many know that that’s an allocation that is well worth over 60-billion, and it serves the needs of the low-income and guttural people across our nation. “If we looked back a few years in January 2012, David Rubenstein, the co-founder of the Carla Carlyle Group, provided 7.5 million just to restore the Washington Monument that had been closed to the public since it suffered serious damage during the summer of 2011 East Coast earthquake.” “Marc Benioff, the billionaire of Salesforce and its founder, announced a 10-million-dollar gift to the University of California at Santa Barbara to launch the “Benioff Ocean Initiative.” His focus was to produce actionable solutions for issues including marine pollution, overfishing and coral bleaching.” Sheila Barry Driscoll.
Lean Philanthropy and Lens Investing
Many executive directors and founders of nonprofits are all moving towards a shift towards lean philanthropy. “The rise in donor-advised funds I think is a big sign of this change. In the old model of philanthropy, wealthy people often waited very late in life to set up their foundations. But today, you’re seeing more family offices setting up foundations in the worth-creating years.”
Time is short of coordinating staff, set up a big organization or primarily “they don’t want to make mistakes” so businesses want expert help. Corporations, firms, and significant investment companies outsource, which can create a hostile situation because donors wish more money to reach the ultimate intended beneficiaries.
Lens investing is characterized by new donors wanting to be very engaged in their giving. People want to have a lot more say in what happens in their philanthropy, so the days of just writing checks to the nonprofit and trusting them to spend their money wisely are just becoming less common. “ROI which we all know means “return on investment,” but for donors, it means “return on impact.” They want to make a better world for everyone through their investment choices, and so the philosophy behind gender lens investing is that investing in all of us by all of us should be the ultimate goal.”
Facing and Overcoming Challenges in Philanthropy
Cutting through all of the noise can be challenging when it comes to raising capital from the family for a foundation or creating family office philanthropic strategy built on a genuine relationship with an ultra-wealthy family. ” From Driscoll’s point of view, our philanthropy and our scholarships are all built to help people of the land and family farmers just like my great grandfather did. Learn more, create better technology to take care of our fields and primarily our food for the betterment of our society and the world. Our family’s model has kept it very close to our home, our values, and our perspectives. Our historic philanthropy focuses on five counties in California. If a model is too widespread, it can become very splintered. In philanthropy, you can’t be all things to all people.”- Sheila Barry Driscoll.
People also really need to research before they start filling out all the paperwork thinking a particular foundation is a perfect choice. Not so much the donors, but the grant requesters need to research facilities and find databases for better information before wasting their time.
If you want to learn more about Billionaire Foundation, go to www.billionairefoundation.org
Email to Philanthropy@BillionaireFoundation.org or call (305) 333-1155.
Source: family office podcast, powered by www.familyoffices.com
The Billionaire Foundation accepts no direct charitable gifts, grants, or donations. Wilson Holding Company covers all expenses in operating the organization and conducting research for it as part of our contribution to the causes we help support.
Sheila Barry Driscoll
President and Co-Founder
The Billionaire Foundation
Sheila is the President and Co-Founder of the Billionaire Foundation where she helps coordinate foundation research work and initiates new introductions between existing foundations and the research team. She is an Honorary Board Member and Contributing Editor of the Billionaire Chronicle, philanthropy section, and is a sought-after speaker for Global Family Office Wealth and Investment Summits. She holds a Master of Arts in TESOL from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and is a former Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to Argentina. Sheila has been the Executive Director of the second largest national nonprofit for missing and abducted children to her current position as Co-Founder of the “Needs To” Foundation with actress, Jody Mortara, which serves the special needs community. Sheila excels at offering creative, pragmatic solutions to complex business issues as well as providing insightful nonprofit/foundation advice on humanitarian imperatives to private families, family offices and agencies. When she is not steeped in her global philanthropic work, Sheila enjoys her role as Executive Producer and Script Advisor for numerous Film and TV Show projects in Hollywood and abroad.
In 1907 R.O. Driscoll, her great-grandfather, began producing fresh strawberries in California’s Pajaro Valley, and more than 110 years later her family is still leading the production of fresh berries in the United States. Sheila donates her time to the Billionaire Foundation to share her creative corporate and nonprofit skills with individuals, corporations, and foundations so that educational programs may be developed, communities can be served, and future generations may continue a legacy of giving and prosperity.