When David Risher (MBA 1991) left Microsoft as a rising star to join a tiny, unknown start-up selling books on the Internet, Bill Gates called it “the stupidest decision he’d ever heard.” Five years later he’d helped build Amazon into an everything store worth hundreds of millions of dollars. When he decided to create a nonprofit offering digital reading programs to get kids reading, his friends thought he was crazy not to be spending time on the beach. A decade later, Worldreader has reached over 15 million children and improved their lives. And when he and his wife Jennifer sat down to create a matching-grant program to inspire giving during COVID-19, they didn’t know what to expect. Five months later, #HalfMyDAF had moved over $8.6 million to nonprofits not by focusing on what Jennifer and David cared most about, but by simply inspiring others to give.
Everyone knows what a serial entrepreneur is, but this is something different: a path based more on values than hard-nosed, HBS-style analysis.
What can we learn from such a path, and how can we apply it to our lives?
David and his wife, Jennifer Risher, author of “We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth,” will share the framework they’ve used and some lessons they’ve learned along the way.
Participants must RSVP by January 19th to receive details on joining the discussion.
Please note that no refunds will be issued.
David Risher is a former Microsoft and Amazon executive who cofounded Worldreader, a nonprofit with the goal of getting 1 billion people reading through digital books. As CEO of Worldreader, David has helped get digital books to over 15 million children in the developing world, including in Ghana, Kenya, Jordon and India. Now, with COVID creating an education crisis here in the United States, David is bringing Worldreader here to offer a digital reading program designed to keep kids reading and learning.
Jennifer Risher is the author of “We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth” that tells a story about getting lucky and explores the hidden impact of wealth on identity, relationships and sense of place in the world. She believes that staying silent around topics like philanthropy creates problems for both those who have money and for our country as a whole. Money shouldn’t be a taboo subject; silence perpetuates the status quo and keeps us from learning from each other. Jennifer hopes her book becomes a catalyst for conversation.
In May 2020, Jennifer and David launched the #HalfMyDAF challenge, inspiring over $8.6million in giving to nonprofits. This initiative earned them a mention in The 25 Most Influential in Silicon Valley.
This Covid event series is organized and moderated by Shannon Lundgren (MBA 1994). Shannon has been involved with HBSANC club leadership for many years, and is currently a club board member. Shannon is passionate about connecting our club members, and also is the leader of our Club singles series. Shannon is a senior executive and founder of Shannon’s Circle matchmaking and date coaching for highly educated singles.
Shannon can be reached at: email@example.com
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