Plea to Philanthropists: Give us your Time, Talent and Treasuries

Go Lean Commentary 

Who is Sandy Weill? And why is his name important … to our cause for reforming and transforming the Caribbean?

The question relates not just to Mr. Sanford Weill, but to his wife – Joan – as well. So the question is “Who are Sandy and Joan Weill?

CU Blog - Philanthropist - Give us your Time, Talent and Treasuries - Photo 1

Accordingly, the publishers of the book, Go Lean…Caribbean know of them … well.  They are featured in the book; they are listed on Page 292 on the list of Billionaire Philanthropists. (That’s Billionaire with a ‘B’). These ones – 113 Billionaires as of July 2013 – had signed the “Giving Pledge”; they have committed to giving more than half of their wealth to charitable causes. See this explanation from the book (and the list) here:

The Bottom Line on Philanthropy
The “Occupy Wall Street” movement emerged in 2011 and proclaimed the slogan “We are the 99%”, referring to income inequality and wealth distribution in the US between the wealthiest One Percent and the rest of the population. But there is more than what “meets the eye” about this One Percent.

As governments around the world pull back, due to austerity and sequestration (US version in 2013), the philanthropic sector will be a critical force in meeting global needs. In what is called the “Giving Pledge” 113 billionaires have committed to give more than half of their wealth to charitable organizations. This level of philanthropy, over $37 billion by Warren Buffett alone, is historically unprecedented. Warren Buffett most lasting contribution will not be his money; rather that he has successfully leveraged his social network and the media to inspire other billionaires to give extraordinary wealth for charitable good. He is reshaping the way the rich think about money and giving, [and the way the rest of the world thinks about the rich]. Some notable names to sign the pledge: Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Home Depot cofounder Arthur Blank and Hedge Fund mogul Bill Ackman, (see Appendix N [on Page 292]) –

 CU Blog - Philanthropist - Give us your Time, Talent and Treasuries - Photo 2

(Click to Enlarge)

Some of these billionaires have pledged to go even further than just giving of their treasuries (money), but also pledge to give their time and talents. This is the familiarity with Sandy and Joan Weill. See the article here from the CNBC TV network. This Opinion-Editorial was written directly by them. See here:

Title: Philanthropy isn’t just about money
By: Joan and Sandy Weill
We both hail from Brooklyn and when we got married 58 years ago our goal in life was very simple. We wanted to do well enough to be able to afford a deep fryer. This is the honest truth. Sandy worked as a runner on Wall Street making $150 a month, while Joan earned more than Sandy working only two days a week as a teacher.

As a result of compound interest over the years, Joan is adamant that Sandy still owes her money from these early days!

Through much hard work and determination, we were able to buy that deep fryer and, as they say, the rest is history. We have been blessed beyond our wildest imaginations, and we plan to spend the years we have left doing what we have been passionate about for almost four decades now, giving back to a world that has been very good to us.

For us, philanthropy is much more than just writing a check. It’s donating your time, energy, experience, and intellect to the causes and organizations you are passionate about. In the early days, we used to say that Joan took care of the streets and Sandy took care of culture. We look at a nonprofit the same way we look at a company—investing in a nonprofit is like buying stock in that organization and we are always looking for the greatest return on our investment.

Education and partnership are at the heart of everything we do philanthropically, and we make long term commitments to the organizations we lead: Sandy is the founder and chairman of the National Academy Foundation (since 1982); chairman of Carnegie Hall (since 1991); chairman of Weill Cornell Medical College (since 1995); chairman of the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University (since 2011); and active with the Lang Lang International Music Foundation; Hospital for Special Surgery; University of California, San Francisco Medical Center; Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy; Sidra Medical and Research Center in Qatar; and Rambam Hospital in Israel.

Joan is chair of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (since 2000); co-chair of the New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center Women’s Health Symposium (since 2000); remains chair emeritus of Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks; and is active with Citymeals-On-Wheels, Carnegie Hall, National Academy Foundation, Green Music Center at Sonoma State University and the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. Joan really has a passion for making a difference in people’s lives one at a time.

Given the various hats we wear with different nonprofit organizations that span the entire United States, we see a new paradigm emerging. It is no secret that federal, state and local budgets are shrinking because of today’s challenging economic environment. As a result, the public sector does not have the capital to support education, health care, music and the arts at the level it has been able to do for the last 100 years. The new paradigm we see is the importance of public-private partnerships. The public sector needs the money, and the private sector is going to demand results that will create new, higher standards to benefit everyone. This translates to the need for more philanthropy, and our private sector must answer the call by getting its employees involved and contributing not just financially, but with their time, enthusiasm and experience.

The National Academy Foundation is an example of a public-private partnership model that works. Sandy founded the organization back in 1982 in partnership with the New York City Board of Education, the teachers union and the private sector. The first Academy of Finance opened its doors at John Dewey High School in Brooklyn. Today, the National Academy Foundation has over 500 academies of finance; hospitality and tourism; information technology; engineering; and health sciences that educate more than 60,000 high school students across the country at a very low cost of less than $500 per student. The program has a 97-percent graduation rate with 84 percent of these graduates going on to college, often the first in their family to do so. Employees of more than 2,500 companies volunteer in classrooms, act as mentors, engage National Academy Foundation students in paid internships and serve on local advisory boards.

From our own experiences in philanthropy over the last almost four decades, we have found the following lessons very useful:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
  2. Don’t be afraid to hire people smarter than you.
  3. The busiest people can always do more.
  4. You can run a better private business if you help run philanthropic enterprises.
  5. Whatever you do, be passionate about it.
  6. Keep it focused, you can’t do everything.
  7. If you don’t understand something, don’t do it.
  8. Teams win.
  9. Be a pragmatic dreamer.
  10. Maintain a good sense of humor and never take yourself too seriously.

Philanthropy has been a large part of our lives for many years and is something we are deeply passionate about and enjoy doing together. We would encourage you to set goals, and as you come close to achieving those goals, push them out a little further. You will be really amazed at what you can achieve. After all, we began our journey just trying to get our hands on a deep fryer!
—By Sandy and Joan Weill for CNBC.
Source: CNBC – Consumer and Business News Channel – Posted 09/09/2013; retrieved 05/02/2017 from:

Related Articles:

Consuming this information, we learn an important factoid about Sandy and Joan Weill – more on Sandy the “Banker” in the Appendix below – and all private philanthropists for that matter:

“the private [funding] sector [(all philanthropists)] is going to demand results that will create new, higher standards to benefit everyone.”

In the Caribbean, we now welcome these higher standards, as we welcome the contributions from these philanthropists.

This message we now send to these 113 Billionaires on the Giving Pledge List – and all other philanthropists for that matter:

Give us your time, talent, treasuries and whatever higher standards. We will equally pledge to you, to ‘give and take’. We will take your contributions and give to you the needed accountability and corporate governance.

This is a familiar topic for this movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean. We have frequently observed-and-reported on the efforts of philanthropists and NGO’s in their efforts to reform and transform society. We have seen their successes … and failures. Consider the highlights of this previous effort by another “Giving Pledge Billionaire”, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg; where he struggled with trying to remediate the inner city school system in Newark, New Jersey (USA):

The issues of education reform, best practices, and funding options are stressed in the book Go Lean…Caribbean, even though these are not the primary focus of the book. Rather this book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), with the focus being on these following 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

Yet, the book posits that education is a vital consideration for economic empowerment; so too are non-government organizations, like Zuckerberg’s foundation. The book specifically highlights an important role that foundations execute in the sphere of foreign aid, sometimes even better than national governments (Page 219):

    One major argument against federally funded foreign aid is that the money is often lost to governmental corruption in the countries it was supposed to help. In 2003, a top university in Bangladesh claimed that at least 75% of all foreign aid given to that government was lost because of corruption. Since faith-based foreign aid focuses on churches or organizations operating independently of the government, funding has a better chance of being used effectively.

The [featured] news article though, highlights an onshore example, in the US, with multi-level governmental support, plenty of money, and yet still: failure! [So the solution for a lot of social problems is not just money alone].

So reforming and transforming the Caribbean takes more than just money; we need wisdom (best-practices and know-how) as well. The Go Lean roadmap provides the step-by-step plan to invite and engage philanthropists in the cause to elevate Caribbean society, to actually get them to give of their time and talent. It does not matter that these philanthropists (members of the One Percent class) may not be Caribbean-based. While many may be physically in the US, Canada and/or Europe, we know that they use the Caribbean as their playground. They are therefore identified as stakeholders of this regional empowerment plan.

The Go Lean roadmap is designed to cater to this One Percent group. See the headlines of this advocacy from the book here:

10 Ways to Impact the One PercentPage 224

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market This will allow for the unification of the region into one market, thereby expanding to an economy of 30 countries, 42million people and a GDP of over $800 Billion (c. 2010). The CU will foster the development for the entire region to aspire for a better life, filled with opportunities for greater prosperity. Those already across the prosperity thresholds, the One Percent, are also included in the “dream” for a more integrated society. So the CU will not penalize the rich for being rich; on the contrary, the region wants to respond to any invitation from rich philanthropists to engage. The CU will therefore invite more participation from this population, by soliciting direct foreign investments, incentivizing industrial initiatives and promoting activities appealing to the upper classes, like art, music, sports and culture.
2 Oversight for Non-for-Profit Foundations Many of the members of the One Percent facilitate charitable contributions by means of their personal or otherwise aligned foundations. The CU will therefore facilitate the eco-system for not-for-profit foundations.The CU Department of State will facilitate incorporations, administration and oversight. The CU will mandate accountability, transparency, financial integrity, and quality/risk management. In fact these foundations will qualify to utilize a lot of the CU’s e-Delivery methods, systems and resources.
3 Solicit Charitable Contributions Many of the CU advocacies align with the not-for-profit foundations of the billionaires and millionaires included in the One Percent. The CU will establish Special [Liaison] Groups with the organization structure to cater to this “crowd”. The goal will be to solicit their charitable contributions ($ Billions pledged) to CU regional targets. The CU member-states are all considered Third World countries that “need” a helping hand. The CU Special [Liaison] Group will promote the required image, proposals and supportive services.
4 Job Creators Inducements
5 Simplified Tax Code
6 Security Pact – Law Enforcement Provisions
7 Intelligence Gathering and Analysis – Special Victims
8 Maritime Emergency Management
9 Paparazzi Protections
10 High-end Tourism

The points of effective, technocratic stewardship of Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s), social & civic agencies and not-for-profits have been elaborated upon in previous blog/commentaries. Consider this sample: Mike Ilitch: Profile of a good Rich Man in his Community Plan to Improve Charity Management Zuckerberg’s Philanthropy Project Makes First Major Investment Sean Parker – Doing More for Cancer Microsoft’s Corporate Philanthropy for Kids in Computer Science Bad Charity Model: Red Cross’ $500 Million In Haiti Relief How to Better Manage Rich Foreign Direct Investors Concerns about ‘Citizenship By Investment Programs’ Balanced Attitude about Begging (Soliciting Aid) Gates Foundation: Changing the World with Time, Talent & Treasuries

Overall, the Go Lean book stresses the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to reform and transform the economic, security and governing engines of Caribbean society. This effort will be egalitarian towards all men (and women), but we understand that some people – the One Percent – are better equipped to help our transformation goals. We must not fail to extend the needed hospitality to this group.

But there is a need for caution! We do not want the customary corruption that can come from Crony-Capitalists and Plutocrats. This warning was urged in the beginning of the Go Lean book, opening with these pronouncements in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12):

x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. …

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest.  The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

Now is the time for all stakeholders – Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man … – in the Caribbean to lean-in for the empowerments described here-in and in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. We must engage all parties willing to help. If rich people (the One Percent) want to give away half of their wealth, then it will be foolish not to join the queue to receive it.

The Go Lean book urges this wise course for the Caribbean region. We should welcome the resources of the One Percent, their time, talents and treasuries, to help make our homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for the roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Note: In the interest of full disclosure, this blog-writer is a “Citi” alumnus.


Appendix – Sanford I. Weill’s Corporate Biography Summary

Born March 16, 1933, Sanford (Sandy) Weill is an American banker, financier and philanthropist.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] He is a former chief executive and chairman of Citigroup. He served in those positions from 1998 until October 1, 2003, and April 18, 2006, respectively.

Early life

Weill was born in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York, to Polish Jewish immigrants, Etta Kalika and Max Weill.[11][12] He attended P.S. 200 in Bensonhurst. He also attended Peekskill Military Academy in Peekskill, New York, then enrolled at Cornell University where he was active in the Air Force ROTC and the “Alpha Epsilon Pi” Fraternity. Weill received a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Cornell in 1955.[11]

Weill married Joan Mosher on June 20, 1955. The couple lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. They have two adult children….

Business career

Weill, shortly after graduating from Cornell University, got his first job on Wall Street in 1955 – as a runner for Bear Stearns. In 1956, Weill became a licensed broker at Bear Stearns.[14] Rather than making phone calls or personal visits to solicit clients, Weill found he was far more comfortable sitting at his desk, poring through companies’ financial statements and disclosures made to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. [His other career positions].

Building Shearson (1960–1981)

Founder of different entities that evolved to Shearson Loeb Rhoades.

American Express (1981–1985)

In 1981, Weill sold Shearson Loeb Rhoades to American Express for about $930 million in stock. Weill began serving as president of American Express Co. in 1983 and as chairman and CEO of American Express’s insurance subsidiary, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company.

Before Citigroup (1986–1998)

Weill resigned from American Express in August 1985 at age 52. After an attempt to become the CEO of BankAmerica Corp. (and “take over” Merrill Lynch, according to a Jamie Dimon interview in 2002), he persuaded Minneapolis-based Control Data Corporation to spin off a troubled subsidiary, Commercial Credit, a consumer finance company. In 1986, with $7 million of his own money invested in the company, Weill took over as CEO of Commercial Credit. After a period of layoffs and reorganization, the company completed a successful IPO.

In 1987, he acquired Gulf Insurance. The next year, he paid $1.5 billion for Primerica, the parent company of Smith Barney and the A. L. Williams insurance company. In 1989 he acquired Drexel Burnham Lambert‘s retail brokerage outlets. In 1992, he paid $722 million to buy a 27 percent share of Travelers Insurance, which had gotten into trouble because of bad real estate investments.


In 2002, the company was hit by the wave of Wall Street managerial restructuring that followed the stock market downturn of 2002Charles Prince replaced Weill as the CEO of Citigroup on October 1, 2003.

Advocate for bank break-up

On July 25, 2012, Weill apparently reversed course on the financial supermarket and stated “What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking, have banks be deposit takers, have banks make commercial loans and real estate loans, have banks do something that’s not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not too big to fail,” Weill said on CNBC. “If they want to hedge what they’re doing with their investments, let them do it in a way that’s going to be mark-to-market so they’re never going to be hit.”[18][19][20]

Source: Retrieved May 2, 2017 from Wikipedia at:


Appendix VIDEO – Big banks don’t need to be split up: Sandy Weill

Posted Sep 10, 2013 – The big banks don’t have to be split if the “right regulation” is in place, Sandy Weill, former chairman and CEO at Citigroup, told CNBC on Tuesday, a year after he shocked the financial world by calling for the breakup of the investment banking and commercial banking operations.


Share this post:
, ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *