Drew Katz

Photo: Courtesy of Drew Katz

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The Connector: Drew Katz
Who he is: Founder of the Drew A. Katz Foundation, which has funneled more than $1,000,000 into nonprofits helping people at risk.

His background: Made serious money as a billboard entrepreneur; always knew he wanted to give back, just like his parents. "I grew up in a family of philanthropists. My mother had such a soft spot for those in need, like her hairdresser's children, whom she sent to summer camp; my father built Boys & Girls Clubs in Camden, New Jersey."

Breakthrough idea: With Tibet House cofounder Robert Thurman, convened a three-day Peace Education Summit last May in Newark, New Jersey, one of the nation's most violence-plagued cities. The 100-plus speakers—from former Sierra Leone child soldier Ishmael Beah to His Holiness the Dalai Lama—spanned the human experience. "It sparked conversations all around Newark—you'd go to the most difficult middle school and see peace murals they painted leading up to the summit. There's a ripple effect."

Lesson he's learned: "I didn't have delusions that Newark was going to be crime-free after this. But it did feel good to help create something that gave a lot of Newarkers a lot of pride."

Breakthrough advice: "You don't need incredible resources to impact another human being. You can make a difference by being conscious, by thinking of creative ways to make others feel good about themselves." —Lucy Kaylin