What would you do if you had $1 billion? Start your own cable network? Buy a Hawaiian island? Or maybe buy yourself an NFL franchise?
What if you decided to give back to your community, to have a decade's long impact on the quality of life. Maybe you would build a new wing or two for a hospital? Support the arts by giving to the Kennedy Center and local theater groups or build communities of affordable housing for low-income earners.
Well, if you're Bill Conway, Co-Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Carlyle Group, a D.C.-based asset management firm, you take a different path. After a deliberate and thoughtful process, Conway has recently decided to make an initial round of grants totaling $55 million of a $1 billion donation to help the Washington region by addressing the root of the problem facing low income people - the lack of education and job training that keeps them from building successful, independent lives for themselves and their families.
Conway will provide $30 million worth of scholarships and tuition assistance to people enrolled or to be enrolled in nursing programs. The focus on nursing is not arbitrary. Being the successful businessman that he is, Conway has focused on a cornerstone of any successful business, fulfilling a demand, and nurses are in high demand and enjoy ready employment. This plan can't fail to have a lasting impact on this community and in the lives of countless low income people.
But in the meantime, people with low incomes and no jobs need to be housed and fed. To that end, Conway has seen fit to give the balance of his initial grants to those groups that shelter and feed the less fortunate, like Catholic charities and so others might eat.
For those in our community that are more fortunate than others, Conway has set the bar for giving very high. Not just based on the amount he has pledged, but in the sensible and thoughtful manner in which he has gone about it.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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