“Being a bystander to suffering is not an option.”
That’s The Greenbaum Foundation’s motto. It drives Jim Greenbaum’s life’s work: funding—and finding—the world’s most visionary, impactful philanthropic opportunities.
So it should be no surprise that Jim is the inaugural recipient of White Coat Waste Project’s new Policy Pioneer Award.
This brand-new honor recognizes visionaries in advocacy and public policy who’ve made historic contributions to ending taxpayer-funded animal experimentation. Jim Greenbaum, a special friend to WCW, taxpayers, and animals in labs, meets the criteria for lifetime achievement… and then some.
Jim built a valuable telecom business—which he sold at age 40, to devote his fortune to ending human and animal suffering. He’s spent the last two decades doing exactly that: using innovating private sector methods to disrupt human rights and animal advocacy.
(Bonus points: Jim also adopted a rare lab survivor: Oliver the beagle.)
“I try to find the areas with the most suffering and the most need where the mainstream groups aren’t working where I can make the most difference. And those are the organizations I work with.” – Jim Greenbaum
AMEN. Jim’s perspective made, and makes, us a perfect match.
Like all of us at WCW, Jim was frustrated by the lack of progress with mainstream efforts to solve the age-old animal testing problem. For decades, public opinion had shifted increasingly against animal experimentation; a ripe opportunity for change. But at the same time, lab animal deaths kept rising; a track record of failure. Jim felt there had to be a better way.
That’s when our paths crossed in the summer of 2013. I was speaking at a conference proposing a groundbreaking new approach and message: taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay for wasteful government animal experiments.
At $20 billion annually, the U.S. government funds most of the world’s animal testing—more than twice as much as all pharmaceutical companies and private industry combined.
Yet, when I met Jim, there wasn’t a single group focused on taxpayer-funded animal testing and its root cause: wasteful government spending.
Jim’s entrepreneurial mind saw an opening in the marketplace. More importantly, he realized the establishment playbook needed to be junked. Most mainstream organizations were still prioritizing “one-at-a-time” efforts: individual lab rescues, protesting random college professors, and beating up drug makers (who are forced to test on animals) and cosmetic companies (which largely aren’t even testing in the United States anymore).
Well-intentioned efforts, but largely ineffective. Animal experimentation is like the Hydra in Greek mythology—if you cut off one of its heads, the monster grows two more. Close down one college dog lab, the government just doles out grants for two more university programs.
WCW’s big idea was to stop chasing the symptom (i.e. animal cruelty) and start chasing the disease (i.e. spending). And I had a new playbook in mind to do it: find, expose, and defund the waste, then set precedents where it really matters (i.e. federal government agencies).
After my PowerPoint presentation concluded, Jim ran up to the podium, grinning ear-to-ear, and said, “This is the idea I’ve been looking for! How do we get it going now?!”
A revolutionary partnership was born that day.
Here’s the top 10 greatest hits list, attributable to Jim’s support:
Jim Greenbaum is the “Funding Father” of WCW. None of these accomplishments would have happened without his big bet on this important and neglected public policy work. Jim’s pioneering vision has changed the way 21st century audiences look at a 150-year-old “anti-vivisection” issue. He’s saved lives… and changed the world.
And it’s just the beginning. In addition to making Jim the inaugural recipient, we’re naming the award in his honor as The Greenbaum Policy Pioneer Awards.
Jim’s tremendous legacy will live on through what will be, going forward, a special honoree who follows in Jim’s footsteps, earns a Cooperstown-worthy achievement… and refuses to be an innocent bystander.
Congratulations and thank you, again and again, to Jim Greenbaum, for your vision, your Hall of Fame level accomplishments, and your commitment to ending taxpayer-funded animal experiments.
You should be very proud.