In 1981, a wealthy New York businessman named Gene Lang told a class of sixth graders in Harlem that he’d help pay for their college education if they made it through high school.
The spirit of giving had come over him, he explained, and he’d made the commitment “on impulse.” Well, that spontaneous classroom moment led to the creation of the I Have A Dream Foundation, which has helped pay the college costs for 15,000 children around the world.
It also set off a chain of events five years later when Harry Reasoner interviewed Lang about his charity on 60 Minutes. As it turned out, another wealthy businessman, Paul Tudor Jones, happened to be watching that episode of 60 Minutes on television -- and it changed his life.
“Well, the second that program finished, I picked up the phone,” Tudor Jones recalls. “I called Gene Lang. And I said I want to do what you’re doing.”
Inspired by Lang’s generosity, Tudor Jones started the Robin Hood Foundation in 1988, a charity that fights poverty using not only cash, but also the business analytics Tudor Jones learned on Wall Street.