Among the blessings for which to be thankful this holiday weekend is the charitable legacy of Theodore Forstmann, who died November 20 at age 71 after a battle with cancer.
Known to the financial world as CEO of IMG and the Senior Founding Partner of Forstmann Little & Co., Ted Forstmann was also well known for his commitments to philanthropic causes, particularly those helping children.
Forstmann’s interest in education led to his involvement in providing scholarships to children of low-income families. In 1998, he and the late John Walton cofounded the Children’s Scholarship Fund. The Children’s Scholarship Fund is the country’s largest charity helping parents send their children to the school of their choice. Forstmann and Walton challenged local donors across the country to join them in funding the initial 40,000 K-12 scholarships worth $200 million.
Forstmann said, “Every child, regardless of their parents’ income, should have access to a quality education – an education that will not only prepare them for successful private lives, but help them to build cohesive communities and a strong democracy. We believe if you give parents a choice, you will give their children a chance.”
He was also known to say, “If you save one life, you save the world.” The Children’s Scholarship Fund has helped almost 123,000 low-income children nationwide, including more than 600 here in Oregon. The Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland is thankful for Ted Forstmann’s vision and for the generosity that opened a world of achievement to low-income kids with few options.
Kathryn Hickok is Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland, a program of Cascade Policy Institute and the Oregon partner of the Children’s Scholarship Fund.