Farewell to a Generous Man

Warren Hellman at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

I just learned that Warren Hellman passed away last night. Warren was many things, among them a billionaire, an investment banker, and the founder of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a music festival he created for San Francisco. I knew Warren as a musician and a philanthropist–a man who gave with great compassion and generosity. The Bay Citizen quotes Warren as telling Forbes.com that that he came to view money “like manure. If you spread it around, good things will grow — and if you pile it up, it just smells bad…I don’t have any passion for or interest in collecting stuff. I don’t have any interest in owning expensive art or Lamborghinis. It’s just another thing to maintain. It’s not a moral judgment; it just doesn’t move me at all. What does move me is philanthropic stuff. Giving really does move me. Part of it is selfish: It’s fun to be appreciated. But the other part of it is that good things really are growing.” I am just one of many who will greatly miss his leadership and kindness.