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I'm With Her

By Phebe Wahl

Photo of Chelsea Clinton at City Harvest courtesy of the Clinton Foundation

10.30.17

As vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, Chelsea Clinton is transforming modern philanthropy.

"MY GRANDMOTHER HAD this saying, that each of us has a responsibility to expand our circle of blessings,” says Chelsea Clinton. “That sense of purpose and responsibility is what drives my family’s approach to service, and it’s a saying that rings even [truer] to me now than it did when she first said it to me more than 30 years ago.” Clinton recounts that when she was a child, her family often gathered to clean up a local park, work in a soup kitchen together or collect books to donate to the local library. “Those were my first service experiences... how my family raised me to think about our responsibilities to our local community as citizens.”

Today, Clinton serves as vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, the New York-based nonprofit organization that is her family’s living legacy, focusing efforts on a wide range of issues including everything from the opioid epidemic to collaborations with partners like Sesame Street and Scholastic. “Although it may seem like these issues aren’t connected—whether it’s helping farmers negotiate better prices for their crops, teaching parents the best ways to support their children’s brain development or making lifesaving medications more affordable for people who need them—our work is linked by a sense of purpose and the knowledge that we can make a difference to improve people’s lives,” explains Clinton.

Since the foundation’s start in 2001, it has disrupted the way organizations approach philanthropy. “We’re seeing now, more than ever, foundations, charities and other NGOs playing a critical role to fill the gaps in society that government either can’t address or isn’t addressing,” Clinton says. “I plan to instill in both of my children that same sense of responsibility that was instilled in me—to do whatever we can to help our world be a healthier, more equitable, more just and safer place.”