Lodestar Foundation Founder Jerry Hirsch Understands Leveraging Philanthropy

Posted on April 13, 2011 by Pam Truitt

Engineer-turned-entrepreneur-turned-lawyer-turned-real-estate-developer- turned-philanthropist. This is the path Jerry Hirsch took before founding The Lodestar Foundation.

As it turns out, Hirsch’s experience  prepared him mightily to carry out Lodestar’s mission— leveraging philanthropy.  According to my favorite online dictionary, (that also tells some interesting stories!) Wikipedia, a lodestar is a relatively bright, easily found star that is used to find direction, particularly with reference to Polaris. Barron’s recently identified Hirsch in the 25 Best Givers, a prestigious number 11 in a list that includes heavy-hitters like Bill & Melinda Gates. I’m impressed!

Hirsch and Lodestar's laser-focus on nonprofits has heightened awareness, injected leadership and set the direction for nonprofits through effective leveraging of philanthropy. How?  Through nonprofit collaborations and through the Collaboration Prize. On their own, each of these efforts is meaty and the subject of many future blogs!  The 2011 Collaboration Prize will be announced April 8, 2011 so by the time this blog is posted we will all know the winners and why they were chosen.

The Patterson Foundation’s Collaborative Restructuring Initiative is mission-aligned with Lodestar in this area.

We believe that nonprofits will grow and prosper with collaborative partnerships.

We believe that nonprofits with similar missions can make significantly more impact together than alone.

We believe that if nonprofits are willing to consider ‘what could be,’ then the journey will be worth the investment—even if the original direction changes.

The Patterson Foundation’s Collaborative Restructuring Initiative is new in this space so learning from Lodestar is important to our journey. According to the Barron’s article, Lodestar was a catalyst for the merger between the United Nations Association of the USA (Eleanor Roosevelt advocated) and the United Nations Foundation (seeded in 1998 with $1 Billion by Ted Turner).  Now that’s what I call effective philanthropy and positioned for growth.

PS:  The Patterson Foundation is hosting Lois Savage, President of the Lodestar Foundation on April 19 and 20 for a round of conversations with local leaders. More to come!

But, I'd like to know this: If you were in the room with Jerry Hirsch, what would you ask him? Please leave me a comment.

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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