Business of Giving

Alberto Ibargüen, President and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Joins Denver Frederick

The following is a conversation between Alberto Ibargüen, President and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Denver Frederick, Host of The Business of Giving on AM 970 The Answer in New York City.

Denver: There haven’t been too many newspaper guys that have gone on to lead one of the premier foundations in the country. But if my next guest, who has served as a publisher at the Miami Herald… and has done stints at the Hartford Courant and Newsday among other places… is any indication, then it might be a good place for a foundation seeking a CEO to take a look. He is Alberto Ibargüen, the President and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Good evening, Alberto and welcome to The Business of Giving.

Alberto: It’s a great pleasure to be here. 

Denver: Tell us about John S. and James L. Knight, who started this foundation back in 1950… what their original vision was, and the influence that vision has on the work of the foundation today..


Alberto Ibargüen

Alberto: They were originally from Akron, Ohio. They were newspaper people. They saw newspapers as a way of informing communities, and in Jack Knight’s own words, “So that the people may determine their own interest.” Although I would say, not actually really sure that he was a partisan, but I would say he was a patrician, republican, very wealthy man who was actually a small-d democrat. He truly believed in an informed society. He also believed in technology, and he used new technology to advance his business, to advance the telling of news and information–reliable and consistently reliable product– that people would come back to as a matter of habit and as a matter of staying informed about things that were going on in their community. He used the telephone as the new modern thing in the early part of the 20th century in the 1920s to go from Akron, first to Miami, then later Charlotte, Detroit, Philadelphia, and so on… And created what in his day was the biggest newspaper company in America, when newspapers were the key source of news throughout the country. 

Denver: As a matter of fact, I understand he even had some fax technology back in 1948. Although it was short lived, he was delivering the news like that. 

Alberto: It’s actually a great story, I didn’t know it until somebody pointed  out there’s a German engineering magazine that talked about this crazy American, who in 1948…I don’t think 99.9% of the world knew what a fax was…in 1948, there’s this American guy talking about one day faxing his newspaper to his customers. They also lost a lot of money, early internet with Viewtron. I think this was before pictures, before motion, before video. It was just text, but they made a big investment, and I think it’s typical of the history of the Knights– and then later Knight Ridder– that the early Knight Ridder should have invested in whatever the technology was, so that when the customers were ready to go there, they were already there with their reliable news package.

…it was absolutely clear that we had to move away from ink on paper. Why? Because the world had moved away from ink on paper, and it was never about the paper, and never about the ink.  It was always about the news. And how do you get people really well-informed so that they can make the best choices? That’s what journalism should be– always about, it seems to me. 

Denver: Well, that spirit of adventure is still alive today with the Knight Foundation as you do all you can to try to stay ahead of the curve. Now, you’re a national foundation, both I think, in impact and scope, but you’re also a local foundation in that you’re rooted in the 26 cities which had Knight Ridder newspapers. That’s a somewhat unusual structure for a foundation. Have there been advantages and disadvantages in that kind of set-up? 

Alberto: I think there are huge advantages from my perspective. In the first place, we’re not a behemoth like Gates, or even extremely large, like Ford. Two billion dollars sounds like a lot of money until you start figuring out how much it costs to do all these various things in 26 cities. The Knight Brothers were really pretty clear: they explicitly said, “We don’t have a crystal ball, and we know that just like our business, the foundation will need to evolve to stay relevant. What we care about is journalism and the communities that made us successful.” And so, that gives us a really clear “true north” for what we do, and how we do it depends on what’s available now.  And so for me, it was absolutely clear that we had to move away from ink on paper. Why? Because the world had moved away from ink on paper, and it was never about the paper, and never about the ink.  It was always about the news. And how do you get people really well-informed so that they can make the best choices? That’s what journalism should be– always about, it seems to me. 

Denver: Well, when you arrived at Knight, a bit over a decade ago, the foundation was apt to make some really large gifts to universities to endow some chairs in journalism.  But you started to fund innovation along the lines you just said– with smaller grants to start-up enterprises. Tell us how that change evolved, and how it changed the way the foundation both operates– and its corporate culture. 


Dr. Larry Brilliant Discusses His Latest Book, Sometimes Brilliant

Larry Brilliant has had a career that lives up to his name. In the 1970s, he played a key role in work in Bangladesh and India to eradicate smallpox, personally witnessing the end of “an unbroken chain of transmission that went back to Pharaoh Ramses.” He then co-founded the Seva Foundation, which helps prevent and treat blindness in the developing world. He was the first director of tech philanthropy, and today he chairs the Skoll Global Threats Fund, tackling issues such as climate change and water security that, like smallpox before them, pose an existential danger to enormous swaths of humanity.

In his new memoir, Sometimes Brilliant, the physician and philanthropist details that remarkable journey, from his youth in Detroit and early medical career, through immersion in the ‘60s counterculture and Eastern philosophy, to his work today with tech moguls like eBay co-founder Jeff Skoll to achieve social change on a truly massive scale. In this edition of the Business of Giving, Dr. Brilliant walks us through some of his adventures as a civil-rights marcher, radical hippie doctor, meditating mystic, and groundbreaker in global health and Silicon Valley giving.

The following is a conversation between Dr. Larry Brilliant, author  of Sometimes Brilliant, and Denver Frederick, host of The Business of Giving on AM 970 The Answer in New York City. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.


Denver: Back in July, Dr. Larry Brilliant joined us to discuss the launch of an HBO movie he had produced called Open Your Eyes, a compelling story of a husband and wife in Nepal whose sight is restored as result of the work of the Seva  Foundation founded by Dr. Brilliant and his wife. Well, he’s been good enough to come back and join us again… this time to discuss his memoir that will be released on Tuesday and aptly entitled Sometimes Brilliant. Good evening, Larry, and welcome back to The Business of Giving.

Larry: Nice to see you again, Denver. Thank you.

Denver: You have had a most remarkable life, so much so, it’s hard to know where to begin. But I think I’ll start with you sitting in Hill Auditorium at the University of Michigan campus on November 5, 1962… listening to a speech. Tell us about that day and the impact that it had on you.

Larry: I think everybody who’s gone to college remembers the sophomore year. It’s a tough year, anyway. And for me, it was tougher because my dad was dying of cancer.  As it would turn out, my dad and my grandfather both died inside of five days.

So, it was a tough time, and I had no inner resources to deal with that. I sort of locked myself up in my room in South Quad in Ann Arbor, and I think I was gobbling down burnt peanuts and reading Superman. That was my high and exalted way of dealing with depression. And I saw a little note in the college newspaper “The Michigan Daily” that said  Martin Luther King was going to be on campus. Nobody really knew who Martin Luther King was. He hadn’t yet given his speech “I Have a Dream.” He didn’t yet have his Nobel Prize. The world outside was filled with the Cuban missile standoff. Bob Dylan was singing “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.”

It was a pretty complicated moment. It was raining and miserable weather, but somehow I took my sophomore ass out of the dorm and wandered into the auditorium.  And hardly anybody came. This huge auditorium that holds 3,000 people, it was hardly half-filled, or even less. The President was embarrassed, introduced Martin Luther King, and he looked out.  Instead of feeling bad, he laughed. He just laughed. And he said, “You all come on up here and sit on the stage; there will be more of me to go around.” And not everybody went up on stage…it kind of crowded the stage, and we all listened to him. And it was not like anything I had ever heard before. I had never heard someone talk about brotherhood. I had never heard anyone say, “We are all God’s children. We’re all in it together.” I had never heard anybody say that there’s a great movement for justice. I had never heard anyone say that “the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, but you and I have got to jump up and help bend it.” I had never heard anybody say, “Join me, and make the world a better place.” He said things that opened up a space for me — a depressed, wonky, kind of pimple-faced kid — something I could do. I could kind of crawl out of my depression, and it wouldn’t all just be about me and the pain that I felt. And, of course, everybody that was on stage with him that day… that was in the auditorium, just began to march. Most went down that summer to Mississippi. Many had encounters that would change their lives. I stayed home with my dad because he was sick, but shortly afterwards I was marching in Chicago.

Denver: Got arrested, right?

Larry: Well, when I went to medical school and had a white coat on, the Medical Committee for Human Rights said, “Come on down to Chicago. Martin Luther King is going to make his march to the city. We want people wearing white coats with their stethoscopes dangling ostentatiously to form a cordon to protect him.”  I marched with Martin Luther King. We were all arrested together. And here’s a little secret: If you are ever going to be arrested — I tell my children — for a good cause, and there are some good causes, get arrested with 200, 300, 400, 500 of your best friends because then they put you in “pretend jail.” And you’re “pretend arrested.” And you can bring a guitar.

Denver: That’s great advice.

Larry: The cops were wonderful. This was not the kind of scene you think of when being arrested. They had to arrest us because we were blocking traffic. We had to go into Grant Park. They had to build a pretend jail, and Martin Luther King was there, and he just kept talking to us. I can’t remember the number of times I marched with him, but it certainly became the organizing principle of my life — the Civil Rights Movement, the movement against the war in Vietnam, and the movement itself. Because as it led into the ‘60s and the ‘70s, my generation, we thought we sensed that right around the corner was a better world… a world that had room for all of us, a room where black or white or male or female or tall or short or old or young… that we were all allowed into this great dream called America. And that was the magic that led to Haight Ashbury and the counterculture… and all rest of it.

Denver: And all the rest of it. Well, that day did have a profound influence on your life. As you noted, you became a doctor, I think, in part  because your father had cancer.  I know you had your own bout with it as well. So I’m going to move to the part of the book which really reads like fiction– not great fiction… because it’s almost too preposterous!  We’re going to start in 1969 at the infamous Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay, and it’s going to end in Bhola Island in Bangladesh in 1977. Take us on that extraordinary journey.

Larry: I was in pretend jail in Chicago. It was a real jail in Alcatraz, but I wasn’t a prisoner. I was finishing up my internship at what was then called Presbyterian Hospital; now, it’s called Pacific Medical Center.The treaties that the Indians had with United States of America were breached more often than they were upheld. But there was one treaty called the Laramie Treaty that said that if any land– having been taken from Indians, any federal land having been taken from Indians– is declared surplus, it must first be returned or offered to be returned to the Indians from whom it was taken. It seemed like a fair deal.

Alcatraz was Indian land, and it was seized and turned into a prison, and then the prison was closed in the early ‘60’s. And when the prison was closed, a number of Indians invoked the Laramie Treaty and said, “Give it back!” And the government didn’t want to do that. So, one night, undercover, several dozen young Indians from many different tribes — the Mohawk Indian Richard Oakes was leading, and a Lakota Sioux Indian named John Trudell was later one of the leaders — they occupied Alcatraz before the name “occupy” had much meaning. And they took over, and they would stay on the island for 18 months.  That became a big social drama. Every day in the newspapers and on TV shows in San Francisco, there would be interviews with the Coast Guard, who were ordered to put a ring around it and embargo and quarantine the island.  And somehow there’d be an interview with Buffy Sainte-Marie, who would fly out there, or Joan Baez who would go out there; The Grateful Dead would do a concert on Alcatraz. And they did a scorecard, and they asked people in San Francisco Bay, “Who do you want to vote for?” They loved the Coast Guard… I mean, we do love the Coast Guard of San Francisco. But it was 90/10 for Indians over the Coast Guard.


Brad Smith, President and CEO of Foundation Center, Joins Denver Frederick

In this interview, Brad Smith, the President and CEO of Foundation Center, describes the next frontier of philanthropy: managing information, and producing and sharing knowledge.  The Foundation Center is a global data platform for philanthropy, equipping donors with the knowledge they need to be strategic in their giving & providing transparency to the philanthropic sector.

The following is a conversation between Bradford K. Smith, President and CEO of Foundation Center, and Denver Frederick, host of The Business of Giving on AM 970 The Answer in New York City. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

bradford-k-smith_personfullDenver: The rate of change is increasing in every field of endeavor, including philanthropy. And in order to be a true leader in the field, a person can’t be 100% consumed with just the well-being and state of their own organization; one also must leave some space and time to contemplate what all these changes mean for the entire sector. One individual that fits that description perfectly is my next guest… He is Bradford K. Smith, the President and CEO of the Foundation Center. Good evening, Brad, and welcome back to The Business of Giving.

Brad: It’s great to be back here.

Denver: For those listeners that are not familiar with the Foundation Center, tell us about the work that you do.

Brad: Great. I think the easiest way to understand us is:  what Bloomberg does for the financial markets, we do for philanthropy!  Basically, we publish data and information about the transaction of philanthropy. In other words, these endowed foundations that make grants to support organizations in the social sector to make the world a better place…We track all that information. We put it out there in an unbiased way so that you can search it; you can find it; you can understand who’s funding your cause, who’s not funding your cause, what foundations are doing, and what they’re not doing.

Denver: Let’s talk about foundations for a moment. When we look at philanthropy in the US, last year about $375 Billion was made in contributions. What percentage of that comes from foundations?

Brad: It’s roughly 16 – 17%,  and this is a common misunderstanding. A lot of people look at nonprofits in America, and they assume that their larger supporters are wealthy foundations and maybe individuals, but the largest source of income for American nonprofits in the aggregate is actually government. Foundation money is very important because it’s one of the few sources of income that nonprofits have that usually is not earmarked; it’s very flexible.

Denver: Well, let’s talk a little bit more about that. I think foundations are pretty abstract to most people. It’s kind of a big idea out there, and I think you have a wonderful way of explaining it by talking about the sources of influence that they hold.  There are three of them,  and let’s pick up on each.   I’m going to start with the one you just mentioned. The one that is obvious to everybody: money, but as you say it’s a very special kind of money, right?

Brad: Correct! Foundations have a really important role in American history and American society. Basically, our government has created a kind of social pact in which wealthy individuals are given a tax incentive for creating a charitable foundation. They make a donation of a portion of their assets to the foundation. They no longer control those assets. They can’t take them back for personal use. They get a tax exemption in exchange for creating a stream of charitable giving in the future. Now, there are a lot of ways to look at the size of the philanthropic sector in the US. There are a lot of foundations. I  know when the Foundation Center was created in 1956, there weren’t near as many. In fact, when the Foundation Center published the first print directory of American foundations, there were about 4,000 foundations. Today there are well over 80,000 foundations…about 87,000 to 88,000. And the assets they manage–their investments–surpassed $800 Billion. And it’s the earnings on those investments which are tax-free, that are used to actually fund grants and fulfill their charitable purpose.

Denver: Right. The second source of influence that foundations have is “convening power.”

Brad: Well, there are not a whole lot of people in this world whose job is to give away money. And people always were sort of perplexed about that. They said: “Gosh, how do you find the organizations to be worthy of getting the support of the foundation?” And I used to tell them: “Look, when you are in the business of giving away money, you don’t have to go looking for people; they find you.” So, one of the things that gives a foundation virtually a seat at any table is the fact that they’re giving away money.

And the other thing is, they’re giving away money which, unlike congressional money or city money, isn’t earmarked by elected officials for their pet causes. It’s very flexible, long-term, risk-taking money.  But this also gives them the ability to “convene.”  And we find that the foundations that are having the greatest impact on the issues that are working– whether it be criminal justice, or climate change, or job creation–are not just giving away grants in a retail kind of way. They’re actually creating tables to which policy makers, academics, activists, and others can come, and really think about what the long-term solutions are to these serious problems that our society and world face.

I think the next frontier for philanthropy is going to be managing information, and producing and sharing knowledge.


Denver: And it would seem in an era of collaboration, they do have that special role to be able to do that. They don’t have a dog in the fight; they’re neutral…

Brad: Correct.

Denver: They give money away, and they have an incredible ability to get everybody to come when they call a meeting.

Brad: Yeah. When I worked with the Ford Foundation, the two jokes they always tell you when you start to work there is that all your phone calls get returned. And immediately, it seems like all of your ideas are brilliant.

Denver: That’s right, and you also become a little funnier and better looking too.

Brad: That’s right, yes, of course. Two of the perks.

Denver: And finally, and this is so important:  the accumulated knowledge that foundations hold.  Speak to that.

Brad: I think this is really the frontier for foundations. Roughly, I think we can say that… and I know you’ve had a lot of speakers come on this program… foundations have moved from the notion of just giving away money… a charity approach… to what a lot people call social investment. The idea that even though you’re making a grant, you’re investing in a solution, and you’re expecting return in the form of impact.

But another way to look at foundations is–I gave a presentation on this recently–and I said: “When it comes to knowledge and information, foundations are like black holes, and they need to become supernovas.”


Robert Egger, Founder of LA Kitchen, Joins Denver Frederick

The founder of LA Kitchen and the DC Central Kitchen, Robert Egger, discusses his initial idea to teach homeless men and women basic cooking skills, and how that idea has blossomed into a program with huge impact— from training unemployed adults for culinary careers, to reclaiming healthy, local food that would otherwise be discarded.


The following is conversation between Robert Egger, Founder and President of LA Kitchen, and Denver Frederick, host of The Business of Giving, on AM 970 The Answer in New York City.

Denver: There are not many founders who would build a world class social enterprise, then one day leave it all behind, move 3,000 miles across the country, and start up another one. But my next guest is not your typical founder; he is Robert Egger, the Founder of the DC Central Kitchen, and now the President and CEO of LA Kitchen. Good evening, Robert, and welcome to The Business of Giving.

Robert: Thanks. It’s a real pleasure to be on.

Denver: Well, from the time you were a kid, you wanted to be Rick in Casablanca, the character played by Humphrey Bogart, open a night club, and change the world through music. But instead, you started the DC Central Kitchen in Washington. So you pivoted, Robert–long before anybody ever heard that word…outside of a few basketball coaches. Tell us how this came to pass.

Robert: Well, I was, as you suggested, a night club guy. I really dreamed–since I was very young– and wanted to be part of the social movements that I grew up watching in the 1960s. I wanted to be part of something, to contribute. As you suggested, man, I thought music was the vehicle, and I still believe it has power.  But I just ended up like a lot of people in the late 1980s.  The issue of homelessness became so “in-your-face” in DC,  but also in every city. I thought  I had to go out and do something. So one night I went out innocently  to serve people on the streets of Washington and encountered the kind of charity model–which is sadly and often times wrapped up in a kind of redemption for the giver, versus the liberation of the receiver. In short, I was serving food that was purchased at the grocery store to people who were standing outside in the rain.

And so I innocently proposed an idea that eventually became the DC Central Kitchen, mainly because all the groups I went to– to try and give it to them– liked everything the way it was. That’s been a benchmark of my career. It’s that sense of: “what we’re doing is great, but it could be better! Let’s always be open to trying something new.”

I also proposed the cooking program, that in effect said: Let’s teach homeless men and women basic cooking skills… and I don’t mean people right off the street. But, let’s try and be part of a system that would start to create an exit door. And restaurants could donate food. Then they could also help teach, and would have access to entry-level people who could help them make money! Everybody would win something!  That was where it started– this idea of quid pro quo.

Denver: Well, tell us a little bit about the DC Central Kitchen: what your business model was there; where you sourced your food; who you hired;  and what you were able to achieve.

Robert: OK. The first time I went out, I purchased food from a grocery store, served the people outside in the rain. So I said: “Hey, look: restaurants, hotels, hospitals, universities throw away a ton of food every night.” And they hate throwing away food; they just don’t want to be sued. So, if you could find a safe, healthy way to get that food…boy, you could serve more people…better food, for less money.

Denver: Yes.


Kate Roberts of Maverick Collective and the Women-Centric Model of Philanthropy

“Money doesn’t solve problems. People do!” says Kate Roberts, co-founder of the Maverick Collective, an organization that aims to redefine what it means to be a philanthropist.



Kate Roberts, Co-Founder of Maverick Collective

In this interview from The Business of Giving, Ms. Roberts explains how Maverick Collective members invest a minimum of $1 million over three years to pilot an innovative solution for girls and women in the developing world. The organization, co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, is an initiative of Population Services International (PSI).

The following is a conversation between Kate Roberts, Co-Founder of The Maverick Collective and Denver Frederick, host of The Business of Giving, on AM 970 The Answer in New York City. This interview has been slightly edited for clarity.

Denver: With the constant barrage of messages, tweets, ads, Facebook posts and the rest, it is extremely difficult for any new initiative to break through and capture people’s attention. But then along comes The Maverick Collective, which has quickly become a hot topic in the world of philanthropy….. and beyond. So it’s a great pleasure to have with us this evening its co-founder, Kate Roberts. Good evening, Kate, and welcome to The Business of Giving.

Kate: Good evening! It’s great to be here.

Denver: The Maverick Collective, which is still quite young, has really captured many people’s imagination. What is it?  And where did the spark of this idea come from?

Kate: The spark of it came from being so impressed with watching philanthropists, such as Melinda Gates, who serves as our co-chair. Coming to the realization that she’s leaving so many of her own resources on the table — and having the smarts, as well as money, to create social change. So, personally, I was really inspired by her journey and the great work that she was doing at the foundation. She then started to mobilize billions of dollars for the issue of family planning. So, that really led us to believe that there is an incredible platform for other like-minded, bold women who really do want to use their skills, their resources and their voice to create change…. rather than just writing a check. Go beyond the check…really get involved and amplify your impact as a philanthropist. And then, of course, the sustainable development goals were announced–very aggressive goals.


Gordon Berlin And The Role of Research Evidence in Shaping Social Policy


Gordon Berlin, President of MDRC

For organizations seeking government and philanthropic funding, reliable proof of progress is an increasingly important currency. “Programs that had good evidence would get the bulk of the money,” says Gordon Berlin, President of MDRC, a nonprofit research organization focusing on education and social policy. In this segment from the Business of Giving, Mr. Berlin discusses about the role of rigorous research evidence in informing how government and philanthropy invest in education and social programs.

The following is a conversation between Gordon Berlin, President of MDRC and Denver Frederick, host of The Business of Giving on AM 970 The Answer in New York City. This interview has been edited for clarity. 

Denver: After this country’s “war on poverty” in the 1960s, there was a growing concern that the programs that were being funded were ineffective and selected simply because they sounded good. So, enter MDRC, an organization founded in 1974 to rigorously test and evaluate programs before they became public policy. And here to join us this evening is the President of MDRC, Gordon Berlin.

Good evening, Gordon, and welcome to The Business of Giving.

Gordon: Well, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Denver: Notwithstanding that brief introduction, tell us in some detail what MDRC does. What are the mission and purpose of the organization?

Gordon: Sure, I’d be happy to. So, MDRC, as you said, was founded in the mid-1970s. Put yourself there;  Nixon was President.  There was broad disaffection with social programs. We’re beginning to wonder about the “war on poverty” and how effective it really was. And there was a growing sense that what we needed to do was to develop new ideas and test them more rigorously before we made them public policy. That was really the spirit with which MDRC was founded.

“You take a group of people that are eligible. You flip a coin essentially in a lottery-like process. Everybody who gets a “Heads” ends up in a program. Everybody who gets a “Tails” does not. You follow both groups over time, and the only thing that could explain any difference you find is that one group participated in the program.”

Denver: The gold standard of evaluation designs is the use of randomized control trials, a term which is almost synonymous with MDRC. What are randomized control trials? And why are they so useful in determining the effectiveness of a program?

Gordon: Well, one of the biggest problems in evaluating a program is trying to figure out what difference the program made… above and beyond what might have happened to anyone. So take a job training program. Let’s say the program has a 60% placement rate, and people stay on the job for 90 days at that 60% rate or so.

Well, in the middle of the great recession, what do you think of that rate? Is it a good rate or a bad rate? Now, go back to the roaring 1990s,  and ask yourself  the same question–when the unemployment rate nationally was only 4%. So, the idea here is that you need a counterfactual–a control group, a comparison. That is a group of people that are just like the people that you’re serving in this program– to tell you, over time, what would have happened. The problem in most studies– when they try to identify that group–is that there are a huge amount of statistical assumptions involved.  And there are always arguments about it.  

And the most elegant, simple, believable approach is random assignment. You take a group of people that are eligible. You flip a coin essentially in a lottery-like process. Everybody who gets a “Heads” ends up in a program.  Everybody who gets a “Tails” does not. You follow both groups over time, and the only thing that could explain any difference you find is that one group participated in the program.

Sallie Krawcheck of Ellevest and the Gender Investing Gap

Data shows that women investors actually have a better track record than men. So, why aren’t more women investing, and why aren’t they investing more?  In this segment, Sallie Krawcheck of Ellevest discusses the gender investing gap.



The following is the full transcript of the conversation between Sallie Krawcheck, Founder and CEO of Ellevest and Denver Frederick, host of The Business of Giving on AM970 The Answer in New York City. This interview has been edited for clarity.

Denver: We have all read and heard about the gender pay gap that still exists in America in 2016–with full-time female workers making only 79 cents for every dollar earned by a man. But how many of us are aware of the gender investing gap and the severe financial consequences that can accrue for women who are investing less than their male counterparts?   Not many of us! And that is why it is such a pleasure to have with us this evening the founder and CEO of Ellevest, Sallie Krawcheck. She will explain why that gap exists and what she is doing to address it. Good evening, Sallie.  And welcome to The Business of Giving.

Sallie: Hi, Denver. It’s great to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

Denver: Let’s start with this gender investing gap. Data shows that women investors actually have a better track record than men. So, why aren’t more women investing, and why aren’t they investing more?

Sallie: Well, women tend to have a better track record in investing– when they invest– than men do, because they tend to take a longer-term perspective. They tend to trade less. They tend to shift in and out of stocks or mutual funds less often. Here are some other facts:  Women, girls and young ladies tend to be as good or better at math than boys, but you didn’t think that either…

Denver: I’ve seen the studies. It’s amazing!

Sallie: It is really interesting. I would say one of the reasons that women don’t invest to the same extent that men do, is because we still think of it in some ways as a male pursuit. We still have some of the 1957 Ozzie and Harriet — that this is the man’s way. Some of it is –Math — we’ve been told as women and girls that it is hard stuff. But some of it, Denver, comes from the industry itself–Wall Street and the investing industry. Think about it for a second. Turn on CNBC. Turn on Bloomberg. I love those channels. They are talking about beating the market, outperforming the market, picking the winner. Your adrenaline starts to go when the market opens in the morning. It’s like sports programming. So let’s think for a second–war analogies, sports analogies, sports programming. One more: the symbol of the industry is a–?

Denver: Bull…

Sallie: Bull…

Denver: Yeah! [laughter]

Sallie: The industry financial advisers, on average about 85% male, tends to be a more mature financial adviser — so I think in their 50s, really. For so many companies, in their 60s. In fact, there is one company that was telling me they had more financial advisers over the age of 80 than under the age of 30.

Denver: Wow.

Sallie: So it’s an older gentleman’s pursuit, and not too surprisingly, the client base tends to reflect the complexion of the advisers. So it’s guys doing business with guys.

Denver: Now that’s all very fascinating. I don’t think people fully appreciate the profound impact that language can have on our psyche…

Sallie: And symbols, right?

Denver: And symbols. You’re absolutely right! Do Wall Street brokers treat their female clients differently than their male clients?

Sallie: Great question! I’ve spent a lot of time on this. I’ve had the privilege of running Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. I was the CEO of Smith Barney, so I’ve been in this industry for years and years, and there are so many great advisers out there. And there are so many that do a terrific job for women. Not enough though. So typically, when you ask a financial adviser sitting with a couple:  Do you treat the man and woman differently? They say, “No!” (more…)