Marc Pollick is an agent of change. His mission? To make philanthropy as impactful and desirable as the financial success to which people aspire in their professional lives. As the founder and president of the Giving Back Fund, he manages the charitable efforts of some of the biggest figures in entertainment, business and sports—35 to 40 individual foundations in total. For Pollick, it’s not enough to be a celebrity and use star power to raise awareness for a cause; he’s turning influential luminaries into genuine philanthropists. “While their fame can help them raise money for charity, it shouldn’t exempt them from their own personal giving to a cause they are asking others to support,” he says.
Pollick’s clients have included Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Yao Ming, who donated $2 million to earthquake relief efforts in 2008. A University of Chicago graduate and Holocaust scholar who studied with Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, Pollick decided to devote himself to making a difference beyond academia after 18 years of teaching. In 1997, he launched his Giving Back Fund, recognizing the potential of harnessing wealth and opportunity to do good work—“taking the focus and the light off of celebrity and onto a cause.”
Before establishing the GBF, Pollick founded The Elie Wiesel Institute for Humanitarian Studies, and later worked as a consultant for The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. Pollick also played a significant role in establishing The Sopranos actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler’s eponymous foundation to prevent eating disorders. After launching a co-branding initiative with accessories chain Claire’s to donate proceeds from a Sigler-designed bracelet, Pollick says, “We got a letter that said: ‘Dear Jamie, you saved my life.’” He has succeeded in making a difference—one foundation at a time.
IMAGE: Marc Pollick with Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher