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The philanthropy of Mr. William S. Beinecke

Throughout his adult life, William S. Beinecke has thoughtfully and strategically considered his business and philanthropic decisions. The 101-year-old former chairman and CEO of the Sperry and Hutchinson Company (S&H Green Stamps) believes that “while always remaining conscious of the bottom line, a corporation should strive to move in the direction of affecting societal change and improvement.”  This is one of many enlightening quotes in his memoir, Through Mem’ry’s Haze, in which he promotes this philosophy personally and in business.

Beinecke completed his undergraduate work at Yale and, after world travel, went on to earn his law degree from Columbia University in 1940. By that time, he had experienced the Depression and the hardship a crashing economy brings to every family. Throughout his memoir are nuances of how much he learned about money, the economy, family and the sacrifices people make to survive.

His understanding of the ups and downs of life and the importance of mentoring he received, especially when making difficult decisions, is a characteristic that has carried him through his life.   

Beinecke and his late wife, Betty, supported a long list of organizations over more than 60 years of marriage. They include artistic, cultural and educational institutions, health, environmental, political causes and many public service activities. “After all, giving money to support the causes and organizations that I believe in is one of my life’s highest enjoyments,” Beinecke wrote.

The Beineckes began their summer pilgrimages to the Cape in 1950 with their four children from their home in Summit, N.J.  Beinecke now splits his time between Chatham, New York City and Delray Beach. “I most enjoy the peace, beauty and companionship I have managed to work out with a number of other Cape Cod lovers,” he said.

“I first started to donate to Cape Cod Hospital not long after I came to Cape Cod when I realized that it was our hospital where we would go if we were taken ill,” said Beinecke.  As a board member of Roosevelt Hospital in New York, he knew about the need for a hospital to have wide support.  More than 40 years later, his donations continue to support the staff, patients and medical services provided by Cape Cod Healthcare.

His generosity has served Cape Cod residents well through his Annual Fund contributions supporting the VNA and Fontaine Outpatient Center, as well as Cape Cod Hospital. He encourages others to donate to Cape Cod Healthcare because “the community needs a first-class hospital, and the only way to ensure that is to continue a wide range of donations to the hospital year after year from members of the community.”

Beinecke was named 2015 Outstanding Philanthropist at Cape Cod Philanthropy Day in October for his monetary and mentoring support of organizations on the Cape. Testimonials from a number of local non-profits, including Cape Cod Healthcare, described him as compassionate, respectful, practical, one of a kind and a good friend.

Despite his advanced age, Beinecke remains active with many projects both public and private. He said keeping active is a major contributor to his longevity. He also attributes it to athleticism, not smoking, and having a wife who was active, talented and involved in many activities.

Beinecke and his family continue to carry on their philanthropy through the Sperry and Prospect Hill foundations.

Giving back is one of the most powerful expressions of support and compassion you can demonstrate.

Share your gratitude by recognizing someone special in your life or by honoring a physician or caregiver who has made a difference. Your gift received by Cape Cod Healthcare will be acknowledged to the person in whose honor the gift was made.

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