Daniel Lurie is the founder and CEO of Tipping Point Community, a San Francisco-based grant organization that combats poverty in the Bay Area. After opening its doors in 2005, the organization now has 1,800 contributors. It had 100 when it started.
As the founder of Tipping Point, what is the organization all about?
We have approximately 30 organizations that we’re funding in the areas of housing and homelessness, education, employment and health care. Those are the four areas. One of the things to know about Tipping Point is that we just don’t write a check and walk away. The days of writing a check and walking away are over in philanthropy. It’s about writing a check, rolling up your sleeves, getting in there with your groups and saying “What else can we do?”
You guys recently celebrated a birthday?
Six years old. June 15, 2005, we launched Tipping Point and there were four board members. Ronnie Lott, Katie Schwab, Chris James and myself were the founding four board members, and there were just two of us full time for almost the first year. In our first year, we raised $450,000 and supported seven organizations. We’re ending our sixth year, and this year we will have raised $12.5 million and are supporting 30 organizations.
What motivated you to start Tipping Point?
I was born and raised here in San Francisco. I was always inspired and motivated by my parents, who always pushed on me that we had a responsibility to give back. I grew up under very fortunate circumstances, and I always knew and felt that it was my responsibility to give back.
Is there a story that puts into perspective how hard others have it?
Dr. Nadine Burke, I met her and I was told there was one doctor for 10,000 kids in the Bayview-Hunters Point. Now there are three doctors. Alongside California Pacific Medical Center, we helped Nadine get that launched four years ago. We have asthma rates that are double, triple, quadruple what they are 2 miles from here. It’s crazy.
USF announced that you are to receive the California Prize for Service and the Common Good. Can you tell us about that?
It’s a great honor for Tipping Point to be receiving the award, and I feel that it’s our whole community receiving it. We’re focused on improving the lives of those people living in poverty in the Bay Area. USF and Father [Stephen] Privett are absolutely aligned with Tipping Point’s values and mission.
What is your credo?
For me, there’s the cheesy one that “it’s not work if you love what you do.” And I love what I do. But my credo is ... life is an amazing thing and I’ve had all the opportunities afforded to me, and Tipping Point is about providing opportunities for those that deserve one.