Today we had the opportunity to catch up with former Hamlin Trustee, Barry Lipman. Mr. Lipman is the father of Hamlin alumnae Amelie Marie Lipman ’00, Elyse Danielle Lipman ’01, and Monique Susanne Lipman ’05.
Mr. Lipman was the co-founder of the Law Firm Goldfarb and Lipman LLP, but he is no longer practicing law. He now dedicates his time to improving the lives of others through profound philanthropic engagement by supporting work that has innovative, sustainable social impact. His central vehicle for achieving this is the Barry and Marie Lipman Family Prize at the University of Pennsylvania. The award recognizes and amplifies the work of organizations devoted to positive social impact and creating sustainable solutions to significant social and economic challenges. The prize is a tremendous success and is the realization of Mr. Lipman’s visionary altruistic thinking.
Around the globe, trailblazing organizations are implementing cutting-edge solutions to the problems facing our world, however, they lack the access to resources and relationships that could extend the power of their ideas. The ultimate goal of the Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize is to spread those global lessons found in local success. The more we can shed light on solutions that work, the more effective we will be at creating a better world.
Interview with Barry Lipman:
What advice can you give to a young person who wants to be philanthropic?
Get involved, volunteer, find something you are interested in and get out there and do it. These days, philanthropy seems to be in the DNA of young parents; it is great when they convey the importance of giving back to the community. Where you choose to volunteer is a personal thing. How do you want to make society a little bit better? It is easy to write a check, but go out and get your hands dirty, get close to the work of improving lives.
Do law firms and corporations have a responsibility to build social impact into their ethos?
There has been debate about this question. The chair of Coca-Cola stated that it is the job of their company to maximize profits, then allow individuals to direct money as they choose. This is the way many corporations approach it. This current generation values being a good corporate citizen. I think that giving back improves morale in a company, while also strengthening community ties. Being visible doing volunteer work is also good for business; it shows that your employees are involved and care.
How do happiness and philanthropy work in tandem?
I can’t tell you how good I feel. I do 95% of my philanthropy for the tremendous good it does in the world. The other 5% is my ego, my legacy, there is that element. I got so much from my time on the board of Hamlin. I loved being involved with the discussions and seeing the fruits of our labor. I remember when we made building improvements in Stanwood Hall; I had tears in my eyes when I saw the completed work. The pleasure of accomplishing something for the betterment of society is right up there with getting married and having kids.
What did you and your family most appreciate about your Hamlin experience?
The education was phenomenal. The confidence level of the girls was incredible. My daughters made some of their lifelong friends, and we became good friends with other parents too. Hamlin students are happy, successful, and very well prepared. ‘Hamlin School educates girls to meet the challenges of their time and inspires them to become extraordinary thinkers and innovators, courageous leaders, and women of integrity.’ That isn’t just some slogan, that is the truth. There was real care and effort put into the Hamlin program.
What keeps you optimistic given the current divided nature of our country?
It has been inspiring to see people fight for what they believe in. Philanthropy is booming. I see people stepping up when they see our government letting them down. People are really supporting the doers, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, environmental organizations. I see the citizenry of our country coming forward to get involved and continue programs.
To learn more about the Barry and Marie Lipman Family Prize, please visit: https://lipmanfamilyprize.wharton.upenn.edu/