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The William James Foundation (Represented by the Silverstein Family)

The William James Foundation (Represented by the Silverstein Family)

“I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of the water, which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of pride.”

- William James (1842 – 1910)

From the Mission Statement of the William James Foundation.

(Represented by The Silverstein Family)

Barry Silverstein (Grantor, William James Foundation) is a cable industry pioneer who over several decades from the 1960s through the 1990s envisioned, built, and sold cable systems throughout the United States.  Today, the Silverstein family remain committed philanthropists and active investors across a broad range of sectors.  Barry’s wife Trudy Silverstein (President, William James Foundation) heads the family’s philanthropic undertakings with their daughter Molly, while their son Jake Silverstein leads the family’s investment activities through Stormlight Expeditions, the family’s private investment platform, and E’lir Capital, the family’s early-stage investment vehicle.

In addition to their entrepreneurial undertakings, the family has created and oversees the work of the William James Foundation, which supports conflict resolution, social entrepreneurship, children’s education, mindfulness meditation, and international development.   Barry and Trudy were early supporters of the rapidly maturing science of nanotechnology, Roger Fisher's Harvard Negotiation Project, and the Mind and Life Institute. Privately, the family is focused on wilderness conservation and have quietly assembled substantial tracts of forest land in the Adirondack and Rocky Mountain regions.  

Born in Brooklyn during the Great Depression, Barry Silverstein graduated from Yale Law School in 1957. He began his career with early leveraged buyout pioneer Derald Ruttenburg in Chicago, partnering with Mr. Ruttenburg in the acquisition and repositioning of several industrial businesses in and around the Midwest.  After retiring from the buyout business at age 31, Mr. Silverstein became a Law Professor at the University of Florida.  In the mid-1960s, he recognized the extraordinary opportunity in the future of cable television, and built multiple cable television systems throughout the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states.  During his diverse business career, Barry Silverstein has served as a director of several publicly traded companies on the NYSE and ASX.

The Silverstein Family were early benefactors of the X-Prize Foundation, with two generations of the family currently represented on the Vision Circle and Barry serving as a long-term Trustee.

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