40 Under 40 Class of 2009

Kathy LeMay

Kathy LeMay

Age 38: Owner and Founder, Raising Change

You might say that Kathy LeMay has written the book, both literally and figuratively, on philanthropy and how it is, or should be, defined.

Through the Florence-based company she created called Raising Change, LeMay says she builds bridges between philanthropists of all kinds and nonprofit agencies that can benefit from their generosity. She’s become quite accomplished at this bridge-building, raising more than $100 million in the fields of women’s human rights, hunger, and poverty relief, and also directing another $100 million in philanthropic dollars to organizations working to make a difference. Meanwhile, she just completed her first book, The Generosity Plan, which contains the stories of several dozen people, most of them non-millionaires, and their acts of charity.

“The subtitle of the book is Sharing Your Time, Treasure, and Talent to Shape the World, explained LeMay, the top scorer among this year’s 40 Under Forty nominees. “It’s based on the premise that philanthropy has nothing to do with million-dollar checks. Instead, at its core, philanthropy is giving of yourself and resources to benefit humankind.”

LeMay said the book, like her life’s work, has been a passionate pursuit, and an endeavor that reflects lessons and experiences from a career as what she calls a “professional social-change fund-raiser.”

“I enjoy what I do a ridiculous amount, and I’ve learned so much from everyone I’ve met in my 15-plus years of social-change work, and the chance to share their stories and show what regular people do every day to change the world is just a lot of fun for me.”

LeMay, who has appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show, Oxygen TV, and a number of radio shows, and has been nominated for a Reebok Human Rights Award, says people can order advance copies of the book on Amazon.com, and she expects it to be on the bookstore shelves by next January, with a book tour to follow.

—George O’Brien