The Givers


Tim Armstrong

Photographed at AOL, New York, by Axel Dupeux

Even as he leads the biggest reboot in the history of digital media, the CEO of AOL has kept serving others top of mind, orchestrating huge efforts to inspire giving on the part of employees, partners and consumers. Since instituting the annual Monster Help Day two years ago, employees in 22 offices worldwide have volunteered 60,000 hours to more than 60 charities. Other initiatives include Citizen Schools, in which more than 100 AOL employees serve as teachers. Armstrong formed Action America upon the 10th anniversary of 9/11 to inspire community involvement and giving. And the redesign of the AOL homepage mandated that a permanent space be dedicated to a different nonprofit daily, driving over 19 billion impressions to 380 groups.


Mike Bloomberg

Photographed at the 9/11 Memorial, New York, by Rainer Hosch

Business icon. Media mogul. Multibillionaire. Public servant. One-man brand. Despite those achievements, Mayor Bloomberg, as he wraps up his third and final term running New York, may have made his greatest contribution by way of giving away money. Bloomberg Philanthropies has doled out more than $2.4 billion to encourage civic leadership on global warming, discourage tobacco use, promote the exchange of ideas among cities, improve outcomes for black and Hispanic men, support the arts—and the list goes on. And we’ve yet to see the ultimate extent of that largesse, apparently. As Bloomberg recently told CBS News, he won’t rest till he’s given it all away: “I’ve always said my great ambition in life is to bounce the check to the undertaker.” 


David Droga

Photographed at The Smith, New York, by Alessandra Petlin

For the founder and creative chairman of Droga5, good works aren’t an afterthought­—they’re part of the business plan. The agency’s award-winning work for Unicef’s Tap Project—wherein restaurants ask patrons to donate $1 or more for a glass of tap water, thus providing clean water to millions—is already well-known. More recently, Droga5 Australia launched Creative Spirit to encourage the country’s 32,000 creative companies to employ people with disabilities. The agency also took this year’s Grand Prix for Good at Cannes for an adhesive bandage that becomes a life-saving bone marrow sample. As Droga said when honored by the Ad Club of New York, he might not be in a position to write a$1 billion check (“I’m not Bill Gates”), but what he can do is contribute “my imagination. That’s my currency, and everyone in our industry has the power to contribute.”


David Jones

Photographed at Euro RSCG, New York, by Axel Dupeux

The global CEO of Havas is also one of the ad industry’s most forceful advocates for corporate responsibility and social change. Jones was the driving force behind Kofi Annan’s TckTckTck Campaign for Climate Justice, which resulted in 18 million people signing up as “climate allies.” He is also the co-founder of One Young World, an international summit for young leaders dubbed “the junior Davos.” The annual event brings together youths from around the world to talk about concerns ranging from climate change to interfaith dialogue and to come up with solutions, which they then return home to institute. The result: In just two years, more than 125 projects have been launched, enhancing the lives of 4 million people.


Martha Nelson

Photographed at the Time & Life Building, New York, by Axel Dupeux

As editorial director of Time Inc., Nelson has the power to make or break public reputations and media careers, but she’s also thrown her considerable power over the years behind a number of philanthropies. Nelson has been an especially vocal advocate on behalf of missing children, even paying a visit to the White House to speak out on the issue. She also is president of the board of the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America, and this year was recognized for her work for Women in Need, which promotes self-sufficiency among economically disadvantaged women. Nelson not only makes magazine magic—she’s making a headline-worthy difference.


Abbe Raven

Photographed at Hunter College, New York, by Alessandra Petlin

The A+E Networks president and CEO, whose domain includes cable nets A&E, Lifetime and History, has become a perennial on those lists of the most powerful women in entertainment—and she’s put that power to work for numerous charitable causes. A former schoolteacher, among Raven’s pet projects are the company’s educational outreach and mentorship program for girls. In a tie-in with the Lifetime hit Army Wives, A+E actively supports programs benefitting servicemen and women, vets and military families. The A&E series Intervention spawned The Recovery Project, which aids nonprofits and governments in helping those emerging from addiction, as well as local town hall meetings co-sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Raven continues to show Hollywood how making hit programming and doing good go hand in hand.


Sherri Shepherd

Photographed at ABC Studios, New York, by Axel Dupeux

She may not have Oprah dough, or command the $12 million annual paycheck of Barbara Walters, her co-host on ABC’s The View. But Shepherd has used her own renown to bring attention—and cash—to many, often under-the-radar causes. She shared her experience with IVF as part of Redbook’s Truth About Trying project. Shepherd, whose son Jeffrey has a learning disability, is the national spokesperson for the YAI Network, which aids developmentally challenged kids, as well as the March of Dimes. While Kim Kardashian registers for Hermés plates for a 72-day marriage, Shepherd told wedding guests to donate to charities such as Embrace. “I make a great living,” Shepherd told The Huffington Post. “We decided we didn’t need another toaster or a $3,000 ashtray.” 


Bill Koenigsberg

Photographed at Horizon Media, New York, by Axel Dupeux

The CEO and founder of the world’s largest independent media agency is also one of the media world’s most philanthropic figures. Last year, Horizon Media contributed some $1 million to more than 60 charities, including the American Cancer Society, Autism Speaks and God’s Love We Deliver. Every year, Horizon sends a team of employees to build houses in El Salvador for Habitat for Humanity. Koenigsberg serves on the boards of the Partnership for a Drug Free America and City Harvest, for which Horizon does pro bono work and to which it made a $250,000 contribution last year. Recently, he’s been honored for his support of charities including the National Kidney Foundation and the Reisenbach Foundation.


Alex Bogusky

Photographed at the FearLess Cottage, Boulder, Colo., by Matt Nager

A couple of years ago, the creative of his generation had enough of hawking burgers. That’s when Alex Bogusky left Crispin Porter + Bogusky to focus his prodigious marketing talents on pro-environmental causes under the shingle FearLess Revolution, co-founded with his wife, Ana Bogusky. At this year’s Cannes festival, FearLess’ work for Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, in association with Brooklyn, N.Y., agency "m ss ng p eces," took the silver Lion. The Boguskys also co-founded Common, which connects entrepreneurs and creatives on socially conscious projects. While changing the world, Bogusky is determined to have fun doing it: “Just because the fate of our children lies in the balance doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time.”


Glen Hilzinger and Bob Veasey

Photographed in the Troy Public Library, Troy, Mich., by Jeremy Deputat

These Leo Burnett creative directors were the force behind the “Book Burning Party,” a campaign for Michigan’s Troy Public Library that won gold Effies across three categories and was a finalist for the Grand Effie. After an anti-tax group lobbied to deny the library its budget, Hilzinger and Veasey employed some decidedly old media (yard signs) and the leading social network (Facebook) to whip the community into action, threatening a good old-fashioned book burning. (The result: The library got its money.) In an industry where too many creatives just think they set the world on fire, here’s a pair that really did—almost. 

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