While known for his time as Governor for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, Forbes listed billionaire Bruce Levenson, along with his wife Karen, has devoted a lot of his time since leaving basketball to philanthropy. With his Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland, Levenson is working with the business leaders of tomorrow by educating them on the possibilities of sustainable enterprises of today. Yet his focus remains squarely on the potential to do good with a background in business.
According to benzinga.com, the Do Good Institute is set up for business-minded undergrads who are interested in merging personal causes with their professional careers. According to Levenson, this blended model is designed to get philanthropic efforts the kind of leadership they need in order to be successful while also showing those same potential leaders how they can build an enterprise on causes with personal and societal significance.
The idea of the Do Good Institute certainly has support. Through their own fundraising, and some additional help from the state of Maryland, Bruce and Karen Levenson were able to set up the program with nearly $100 million in seed funding.
In its seven years, the Do Good Institute has had its share of success stories. Ben Simon took what he learned at his university and went on to form the Food Recovery Network, an initiative designed to reduce food waste on campus. The successes Simon enjoyed there encouraged him to start Imperfect produce, which helps lower-income people get greater access to fruits and vegetables.
Simon’s commitment to food sustainability through business is an example of the Do Good Institute’s effectiveness, Levenson has noted. Part of that, he believes, has to do with its requirement of physical presence, doing away with fears of digital replacement and ultimately a rise in apathy that would work against the objective. In time, Levenson hopes the program will stretch to other campuses across the country and encourage students in different fields to take part.
About Bruce Levenson:
In 1977, Bruce Levenson and his business partner Ed Peskowitz founded the United Communications Group. In 40 years of business, it has grown into one of the largest business information companies in the world, providing services to more than two million clients.
In addition to being President of the I Have a Dream Foundation, Levenson, along with his wife Karen, created the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Maryland.