CL: WHAT FIRST INSPIRED YOU TO SET UP YOUR COMPANY?
MP: Having established a nonprofit for Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, I was intrigued by the power inherent in leveraging wealth and celebrity on behalf of philanthropy and good works. I came across a newspaper story about several highprofile athletes and the mismanagement of their charitable foundations. I decided at that moment I would try to become the answer to that problem.
CL: WHAT IS THE GIVING BACK FUND?
MP: Basically, the fund was created to provide expert professional management services for high-profile people seeking to do serious philanthropy.
CL: WHAT IS THE ROLE OF CELEBRITY IN GIVING?
MP: We are a celebrity-obsessed culture. A strong argument could be made that celebrity is the No. 1 currency in America today. When a celebrity supports a cause, it draws media attention and the attention of fans that follow that celebrity.
CL:WHO ARE SOME OF THE CELEBRITIES YOU HAVE MOST ENJOYED WORKING WITH?
MP: Yao Ming has been an extraordinary role model for philanthropy. So have Rosie O’Donnell and Angelina Jolie. Herb Alpert of the Tijuana Brass has been a trendsetting philanthropist.
CL: HOW DO YOU SEE PHILANTHROPY EVOLVING OVER THE NEXT DECADE?
MP: I see online giving exploding over the next few years and I see social responsibility — double-bottom-line companies — becoming a partner to philanthropy in solving the world’s problems.