Joanne Wilson


The first major philanthropic gift that my husband and I gave was to Madison Square Park in NYC.  Our first apartment was up the street from the park.  We walked through it every single day.  When we lived there the park was super gritty but it was our park.  We had just moved to the city and we fell in love with NYC.  Danny Meyer was heading up the first private-public partnership for Madison Square Park and he came and talked to us about a gift.  We were thrilled to be part of the first round of donors.  Today the park is one of the most beautiful vibrant gems in the area.

Location: New York, New York

Profession:  Blogger, Angel Investor, Co-Founder Womens Entrepreneur Festival

Twitter Handle:  @thegothamgal

What was the first philanthropic gift you ever gave?:

The first major philanthropic gift that my husband and I gave was to Madison Square Park in NYC.  Our first apartment was up the street from the park.  We walked through it every single day.  When we lived there the park was super gritty but it was our park.  We had just moved to the city and we fell in love with NYC.  Danny Meyer was heading up the first private-public partnership for Madison Square Park and he came and talked to us about a gift.  We were thrilled to be part of the first round of donors.  Today the park is one of the most beautiful vibrant gems in the area.

What is your charity of choice and why?:  

We are big supporters of NYC, education and technology.  I sit on the board of the Highline.  It is not only a park but something that has changed the entire west side of NYC.  It is made the biggest impact on the landscape of NYC in the past 50 years.  We also support CSNY to insure that every kid in the NYC public school system learns the computer science tools that they will need as they move forward in their lives.  We also support Hot Bread Kitchen that educates foreign-born low income women to bake bread, speak english and business skills.  By supporting HBK we are supporting the communities and families that these women come from.

Who inspires you to give?:

With financial success comes the responsibility to give back.  Being able to impact a park, a person’s life, a city that we walk through is empowering.  

What motivates you to give?:  

It is motivating to give back and to see the difference we have made in others lives.  

How do you give of your time?:

I give my time every day from the founders I invest in as a mentor and someone to lean on for advice, to the non-profit organizations that I support by being involved in areas that they ask me take part in to being a champion of women through the Women’s Entrepreneur Festival.  

What advice do you have for others to consider giving?:  

Don’t just write checks to anything.  Write checks in one or two areas that you care about.  I believe that makes a bigger impact.  Then get involved in one of them.  The value you bring is not only your checkbook.  



About

Julia Levy, Founder, has a decade of development experience, including working for a philanthropist, a small nonprofit and now a large nonprofit. She has raised significant dollars for numerous causes, from education to religion and from donors of all ages. Julia holds a Certificate in Fundraising from NYU’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and an undergraduate degree from Cornell University. Julia has taught fundraising workshops, most recently at Brooklyn Brainery and coached development professionals.


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Why We Give tells stories of ordinary philanthropists, making a difference, dollar by dollar and hour by hour.  

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