Wednesday, February 10, 2016

100 Days of Gratitude, Day 42 - Shari Berenbach

Shari Berenbach
Shari Berenbach has died.  Most of us had no idea she was so ill.  That is because she always - always - had a smile on her face and an encouraging word for those of us trying to develop new ways of creating opportunity for the world.

I met her in Budapest in 2001 at a small, intense meeting of some of the early pioneers in social finance.  Most of us were in the early ideation phase, but through her visionary work at Calvert Foundation Shari had already achieved more than the majority of social entrepreneurs do in a lifetime.

I remember that at that meeting someone referred to her as the "grandmother" of social finance.  She was a bit offended, saying that she was only in her 40s!  But in retrospect, it was true: Despite the small age difference, she treated many of us over the years with fond indulgence, and helped us the way that grandmothers do - in my case acting as the original fiscal sponsor of a crazy idea called GlobalGiving in the shaky early years.  GlobalGiving might well not exist today if not for her early help.

There are many good people trying to do good in the world. But Shari stood out.  RIP, Shari. May the rest of us live up to your example.