French-born billionaire William Louis-Dreyfus is putting his money where his mouth is by selling his extensive art collection in order to donate the proceeds to Harlem Children’s Zone, which supports disadvantaged kids, Barron’s reports.
Louis-Dreyfus, 82, who lives in New York, spent about 50 years putting together his 3,500-piece collection, which he estimates to be worth anywhere between $10 million and $50 million. Louis-Dreyfus sees this as his “first major act of philanthropy,” Barron’s says.
“I realized one morning that my children do not need to be any richer than they are, and they did not need the spoils from my collection,” Louis-Dreyfus, former chair of Louis Dreyfus Holding B.V., told the news site. “I could do something good, and that I believe in.”
The idea to donate struck the billionaire about four years ago while he was watching a 60 Minutes profile on the Harlem nonprofit, Barron’s notes. The report laid out how the organization was trying to break the cycle of poverty in the community through a “cradle to college” approach, interconnecting parenting workshops, preschools, charter schools and colleges. The idea appealed greatly to Louis-Dreyfus.
“I just knew that whatever I was going to do with my art would involve black Americans or people in schools,” he says. “It was not going to the [Metropolitan Museum of Art] or [the Museum of Modern Art].”
Read more at Barron’s.