Sabin Russell Science Writer

25Mar/10Off

California Magazine Profile of Goldman Prize’s Richard Goldman

Here is another freelance story, just published, in California Magazine http://bit.ly/9xpHPg.  It is a profile of Richard Goldman, the San Francisco philanthropist who started the Goldman Prizes, the annual awards to environmental heroes,. The prizes are sometimes called the "Green Nobels." Cal named him Alumnus of the Year, and asked me to write the following story. Here's how it starts, with a link to the whole thing below:

The Heroes' Hero

By Sabin Russell

Alumnus of the Year Richard Goldman made it his mission to reward environmentalists

Environmental philanthropist Richard N. Goldman ’41 has saved many, many places on this earth, but perhaps the most unusual is an old Burger King at the Presidio of San Francisco, the former Army base at the north end of the city.

Boarded up and slated for demolition by the National Park Service, the fast-food joint occupied an aging Army mess hall of little historical value. Yet it offered, through its floor-to-ceiling plate-glass windows, what Sunset magazine once declared “The Best View of The Golden Gate Bridge of Any Restaurant in the City.” Goldman liked the spot and arranged to lease it. In 2005, after a considerable architectural makeover, the building was transformed into the headquarters of the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund.

That choice of locale certainly squares with the idiosyncratic style of Richard Goldman, a lifelong Republican who supported Hillary Clinton and then Barack Obama for president. Goldman was a businessman who became a lion for the environment and a thorn in the side of oil companies.

Instead of dispensing Whoppers at the Presidio site, the organization dispenses cash—lots of it—to causes close to the heart of the 89-year-old retired insurance executive. With his late wife Rhoda H. Goldman ’45, a great-grandniece of Levi Strauss and an heir to the blue jeans fortune, the couple has given away $618 million since 1951, including $39.3 million to Cal in the past three decades. They have endowed professorships, built new facilities for athletics, and doubled the size of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy. In appreciation for decades of such altruism, Richard Goldman was named the Cal Alumni Association’s 2010 Alumnus of the Year ....(read the whole thing: http://bit.ly/9xpHPg)

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