In my line of work as a Public Relations Agency owner, I meet many very wealthy people. And amongst the billionaires, believe it or not, there are indeed many scrooges – and few who are as generous as self-made gregarious “King of All Fun” Stewart Rahr. And while he is undoubtedly non-traditional, he gets it done and helps so many in such a major way. Indeed, from the philanthropic world, amongst and outside the Jewish community, Rahr deserves a mighty thank you.
This week alone he did so many things which for anyone else would be a task – but he enjoyed it. To his email list of 300 or so friends, he donated $350,000 to charity through an online trivia game. He sends a photo and trivia question – and the 1st five people to answer won money. And while the group emails include his celebrity friends ranging from Bill Clinton to Demi Moore, Jessica Simpson to Leonardo DiCaprio, many of them are also random people he has met through the years.
Many great causes are helped – Two causes dear to my heart benefited this week alone – $10,000 was given to RAJE – The Russian-American Jewish Experience, and $5,000 to the world-famous Carlebach Shul. He has helped many other charities every time I – and many others he knows – ask.
Earlier in the week, he befriended an Orthodox Jew at a Knick game – and on a whim pledged $100,000 to his new friends’ charity of choice. He had never before met the man – and the next day handed him checks. And indeed, two of the charities were The Simon Wiesenthal Center as well as Yeshiva Ketana on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. What could be better?
And a few months ago, Rahr donated $640,000 to the Israel Cancer Research Fund at the request of his friend Ben Brafman. Israel Cancer Research Fund is the only nationwide charitable organization in North America solely devoted to supporting cancer research in Israel. While Rahr is listed as #298 on the Forbes 400 list, he truly takes joy in giving it away. Earlier this year I was honored to escort him when he gave Make-A-Wish® $10 million, the largest individual gift in its history.
He has given in a very major manner to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, the NYU School of Medicine, the Robin Hood Foundation, the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation and many others.
Stewart regularly quotes Winston Churchill in saying ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’ It’s a rare treat and amazing he is able to help so many people. He is oft-referred to as the Billionaire of Fun by the media – he should be called the billionaire of giving. He gives and doesn’t need anything in return. Thank you Stewart Rahr.