Mimi Reichert Sternlicht reluctantly refers to herself as a “social entrepreneur.” When it is suggested that “change agent” might be equally appropriate, she laughs. Mimi started a mentorship program for underprivileged students in New York and supports young entrepreneurs with creative ideas to bring affordable housing to disenfranchised communities. She actively supports and advises a Kenyan organization that builds schools and healthcare centers in the Kibera slums and serves as a host mom to one of its beneficiaries, a young African girl attending high school in America. “I’m most engaged in projects where entrepreneurship, education, and design collide to affect social change,” says Mimi.
A newly envisioned Health and Wellness Center, therefore—one that would co-locate services and programs instrumental to students' physical and emotional well-being and include a 150-bed health-focused residence hall—is right in her wheelhouse. “I never just give donations,” she says. “I'm always involved in projects and processes. Whether I'm on the team or supporting the team, I like to weigh in on how funds are allocated and to contribute in creative problem solving.”
Barry Sternlicht, a former two-term Brown Corporation member, is also a passionate philanthropist, giving his time and support to social and health-related causes that address some of the world's most pressing problems. A director and former chair of the Robin Hood Foundation—the largest organization in the country committed to fighting poverty—he is also a former director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Intellectually curious, Barry studied Law and Society at Brown: “I remember a class where we had to read a book, write a paper, then exchange the paper with peers and read their papers. This was vintage Brown, and it helped me learn how smart people can see things very differently.” The Open Curriculum, he realizes, helped him “to think critically and to discover what I didn't know I didn't know.”