Tracy Gary

Program 36 • 29 mins


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Tracy Gary, Pillsbury heiress and noted philanthropist, calls charity the “new American dream” because it is uniquely able to create change in our world. A founder of over a dozen charities herself, Gary has given nearly all of her inheritance away. Starting in her twenties, she committed herself to the call of philanthropy, not only as a funder, but as an organizer and coalition builder, she has spearheaded efforts to save the environment, protect women, and enhance the opportunities for numerous disenfranchised groups across America. Her candor, spirit, and thoughts on why the present moment offers a golden chance for betterment will convince you how hope, more than anything, can fund a cynical world.


  • Would you donate most of your money if you inherited millions?
  • What can one person do to make a difference?
  • How does charitable giving help to build community, and help individuals to care for one another?
  • How can a vision of philanthropy address the problems of society?

One of my theories about why it’s really important that people get involved in service is that we can grow up very narcissistic if we’re always taking care of our own interests all the time. Empathy is an antidote to narcissism.”

—Tracy Gary, philanthropist


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