Actor, Natural Food Producer, and Philanthropist
Paul Newman was a famous actor – he won an Academy Award for his performance in The Color of Money in 1986, and he was also nominated for an Oscar nine more times! As an actor he made a lot of money, and he used some of that money to do what he loved – race cars. He even formed his own racing team!
But he was interested in more than fast cars – he cared deeply about the environment and about children. He used much of the money he made to start organizations that help these two causes.
His most famous charitable organization is Newman’s Own food company. It started because Paul Newman loved to make salad dressing and give it away to his friends. His salad dressing got so popular, that he decided to sell it! You might be familiar with Newman’s Own for their delicious spaghetti sauces, salsas, lemonade, pretzels, or (our favorite) Fig Newman’s cookies!
But did you know that Mr. Newman gave away ALL of the money he earned from this business (after taxes and other stuff)? That’s right, he gave over $400 million to charities including The MINDS Foundation, The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, Shining Hope for Communities, Edible Schoolyard NYC, Fisher House Foundation, the WILD Young Women Programme (New Zealand), and Pilgrims Hospices (UK). He was one generous guy.
One of the charities that Newman started with money from Newman’s Own is a summer camp for very sick children called the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. He wanted to give every child – no matter what kind of illness they have – the chance to “raise a little hell” and have a real summer camp experience. He named it after a gang in his 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and created a kid-sized Old West setting that looked a lot like the set of the movie. He made sure there were plenty of regular summer camp activities, adapted so that children with physical and medical problems could participate.
The organization has helped almost 300,000 seriously ill kids all over the world have great summer experiences, for free! Over 15,000 annual donors, organizations, corporations, foundations, and organizations donate money to support the camp. These organizations include Newman’s Own, AngelRide Charitable Trust, Travelers Championship, the International Longshoreman’s Association Children’s Fund, and Newman’s college fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau. Although Newman used his own money to buy the land for the camp and start it, 98% of the Camp’s annual operating budget of $8.4 million comes from sources other than Newman’s Own.
Another organization that Paul Newman started with the profits from Newman’s Own is the Safe Water Network. This non-profit partners with large foundations like PepsiCo, Conrad N. Hilton and Newman’s Own to make sure people all over the world have clean water to drink.
Paul Newman discovered a way to build a company and use it to make a difference in the world.