In Memoriam Rob Mayer

first_imgby, Barry Barkan, ChangingAging ContributorTweetShare22ShareEmail22 SharesRest in peace, Rob Mayer. It’s hard for me to write these words, because his energetic image is emblazoned in my mind.Rob was rare in that he brought the approach of a social venture capitalist to his role as executive director of the The Hulda B. & Maurice L. Rothschild Foundation. He sought out cutting edge work that was aligned with his purpose and became a full partner with the organizations in whom he invested the foundation’s resources. He shared not just the Foundation’s money but he negotiated the fine line between sharing his seasoned strategic advice and not imposing it on his partners.It was Rob who approached the Pioneer Network in the early days with an unsolicited offer of support and he grew to be so invested in the cause that the Rothschild Foundation became “the only national philanthropy exclusively committed to person-centered long-term care in the United States.”We both had major heart surgeries and developed an intimacy around health issues. In an email conversation we had in July, shortly after I learned that Rob had a dire diagnosis, he wrote:“You are absolutely correct that each journey is an individual one both in how we respond clinically as well as psychologically. Not something that anything prepares us for, as the onset is almost always sudden, and the outcome is highly unpredictable in almost every case as you well know.“However, I am passionately dedicated to the Work and that is what keeps me going. Fortunately, the clinical markers are positive so far and the worst of the side effects from the radiation and chemo I trust are behind me. The Foundation is promoting a new product we created to promote resident choice by better mitigating risk.”As recently as a few weeks before he left the planet, he expressed excitement over the over breakthroughs in his efforts to educate the policy makers in life safety that quality of life and managing risk needed to be compatible. His clarity, commitment and compassion were still strong. But I was worried that his voice was weakened and his stamina was short.In a philanthropic world that is too often bureaucratic, short on vision and self congratulatory, Rob Mayer’s approach to activist social venture philanthropy should be a case study for every young person of inherited wealth who wants to invest in leveraging profound social change.Related PostsChanges to Life Safety CodeThe Green House Project is excited to report that the Pioneer Network/Rothschild Regulatory Task Force’s life safety code revision recommendations submitted to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have been approved and will be incorporated into the 2012 edition of … Continue reading →“For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” — John F. KennedyThe Pioneer Network recently sent out these announcements: Pioneer Network is pleased to announce that all of the proposals that its National Life Safety Task Force: A Rothschild Regulatory Task Force submitted to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have … Continue reading →Surplus Safety: A Symposium To Redefine RiskDrs. Judah Ronch, Dean of the Erickson School of Aging, and Dr. William Thomas, founder of the Eden Alternative and Green House Project, have coined a new term and developed a new concept called surplus safety. The first-ever Surplus Safety Symposium was held on September 12 – 13, 2012 in…TweetShare22ShareEmail22 SharesTags: Care Partnerlast_img read more