Doubling Down For Change
Donor since: 2000
Occupation: retired insurance broker, activist and philanthropist
Why I give: My wealth isn’t just comfort and privilege. It’s a responsibility. Giving to Bread & Roses is a way to maximize my impact since it supports so many organizations that promote social justice.
For Jim Bryson, a longtime Bread & Roses donor, philanthropist, and activist, making social change is personal.
“In my 20s and well hidden in the closet, I spent five years in therapy to make me straight,” he says. “Living the truth of who I was in the conservative world of insurance where I worked made the coming-out process daunting. But I didn’t want to lead a life of deception and decided not to hide my true identity.”
Jim founded his own insurance brokerage firm and helped organize national and local trade associations focused on ethical practice and education.
In the mid 90’s, Bryson decided to retire. “I’d spent 18 years building the company and I had achieved my goals. I’d become a local and national LGBT activist, and wanted to focus on that.”
His tremendous success in business gave him the freedom to join or help create several organizations including ActionAIDS, the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, OutGivers of Philadelphia, the HRC National Business Council, and the Bryson Institute at the Attic Youth Center.
Now 77, Jim is still a leader in the LGBT community. He’s also very generous, managing a robust philanthropic portfolio that supports local and national organizations, including Bread & Roses.
Excited by the recommendations for change, Jim doubled his support to Bread & Roses this year. He hopes that more people with means step up: “The pursuit of wealth in this countr y has become a corrupting influence on our cultural values. As a onetime mentor of my philanthropy activities said to me years ago, ‘Give until it feels good, not just because it is tax-deductible.’”
Jim’s gifts to Bread & Roses represent a commitment to organizing for economic, racial, and social justice, and an end to discrimination on the basis of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. And Jim’s advice to others is to “remember LGBT organizations and other social justice causes in your will.”
Jim is one of many role models for supporting organizations that serve, advocate, and empower ever yone in the Delaware Valley. Thanks Jim!