Marc Pollick graduated from the University of Chicago, and subsequently earned graduate degrees in Social Science, East European Jewish History, and Holocaust Studies. He pursued his doctoral studies at Boston University under the direction of Professor Elie Wiesel, 1986 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and for 18 years pursued a career in academic Holocaust Studies. In 1982, Mr. Pollick was appointed Founding Executive Director of the Zachor Institute for Holocaust Studies in Miami, Florida. One year later, he created and hosted the cable television series, “We Remember.” He also served as the Assistant Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University, and founded The Elie Wiesel Institute for Humanitarian Studies. He has twice led student groups to Holocaust sites in Eastern Europe, and in 1983, co-led the first-ever group of children of Holocaust survivors on a “Journey of Conscience” to Eastern Europe and Israel. In 1989, he served as a senior researcher for the permanent exhibition of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He lectures often throughout the United States and Israel, and has taught courses on The Holocaust at the high school and university levels.
Working with Wiesel, Pollick came to appreciate the unique power and opportunity inherent in leveraging celebrity and wealth on behalf of philanthropy. He formulated the idea for an organization that would work with celebrities to use their fame for the common good, and in 1997 established The Giving Back Fund (GBF) to provide philanthropic management and consulting to professional athletes and entertainers. Because of its unique focus on athletes and celebrities, GBF has expanded and diversified philanthropy in important ways, creating new donor pools that are often underrepresented in traditional philanthropy, such as people of color, women, and youth. GBF has managed the foundations of more than 200 high-profile clients, from sports legends including Yao Ming, Roy Halladay, Ben Roethlisberger, and Doug Flutie, to entertainment stars Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Maria Bello. Through GBF, these foundations have granted more than $40 million to charities around the world, and encouraged the donations of millions more, by leveraging the power of celebrity to achieve social good. While GBF has special expertise in the area of celebrity philanthropy, it has branched out in recent years to provide philanthropic consulting and management to high-net worth individuals of all backgrounds, business entrepreneurs and corporations.
Mr. Pollick was recently recognized for his achievements as a recipient of the University of Chicago Alumni Award for Public Service. Upon receiving the award, he commented:
“For me, the University of Chicago was not just a college. It was the impetus for a radical shift in my life’s direction. Every assumption I had prior to arriving in Hyde Park was challenged—from what is important in life, to what constitutes an educated person. As an undergraduate, I discovered role models who would become lifelong heroes—in the persons of Jonathan Kozol, Jesse Owens (who tutored me in the long jump!), Rabbi Harold Kushner, and Elie Wiesel. I learned not only how to think, but how to employ that thought process to produce significant actions. I vividly remember coming to college as a freshman knowing that I wanted to change the world but not having a clue where to start. Without a doubt, the relationships I developed at UC and the influences I absorbed have directly equipped and enabled me to fulfill my freshman goal of wanting to make the world a bit better. I was profoundly altered by my UC education—in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the dorms. The Giving Back Fund is the professional manifestation of that treasured experience.”
Mr. Pollick contributes frequently to major periodicals on the topic of philanthropy and writes a regular column on sports philanthropy for Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal.
Past and Upcoming Gigs
Finding Your True Passion, Making Lasting Change
Nexus Global Youth Summit
Honest to Goodness: A Conversation with Jessica Alba
Social Innovation Summit
July 24, 2014
June 19, 2014