Business leader and lifelong philanthropist, former Chase Manhattan Bank Senior Vice President, and longtime senior advisor to Chase’s chairman, David Rockefeller, Gene Swanzey served in the White House as assistant to Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller.
“For any philanthropic endeavor, seeing a tangible result is very important, and that’s what CRF delivers.” Swanzey’s philanthropic conviction was influenced by an early mentor. “Every year at the Chase Manhattan shareholders meeting, a few people would stand up and thank David Rockefeller. They’d say, ‘I’m a local businessman and I owe that to you...I started a business. I sent my kids to school.’ That stayed with me as a young man.”
To Swanzey, effective philanthropy combines opportunity with accountability. Identifying at-risk communities and finding the right businesses and entrepreneurs is important. Then, “it’s a ripple effect. If you invest, donate, and contribute...you can see the guy who struggled to open up that bakery. You can see an employee take the paycheck home and see his kids now in college. It’s a fantastic feeling. And you’re adding to the economy.”
He finishes, “Philanthropy is more than writing a check. It’s building something effective and helping it grow.”