Bob and Dottie King are passionate philanthropists on a mission to change the world.
Bob King graduated from Dartmouth in 1957 and earned an MBA from Stanford in 1960. He is the founder of Peninsula Capital, a Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm, and founder and former president of R. Eliot King & Associates Inc. In 1995, the Kings founded the Thrive Foundation for Youth to help children in under-resourced communities reach their full potential, and in 2011 established the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies. In 2013, Bob and Dottie partnered with Dartmouth College to create the King Scholar Leadership Program for students with exceptional potential from developing nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Their goal: to alleviate global poverty by supporting the people who are best equipped to fix the problem.
Bob King: We think a lot of changes the world needs can be done by good people, and we love investing in them. You’ve got a billion people living on a dollar-and-change a day? That’s wrong. These are our neighbors. Our faith tells us to love our neighbor. So we want to do something for them. Creating leaders who can go back to their homelands and reduce extreme poverty —whether through the public, private, or philanthropic arena—is one way to do that.
Dottie King: I would add that our philanthropy is related to gratitude. We both come from pretty modest backgrounds. As a little girl in Sunday school I remember being intrigued by pictures of people from all over the world. Then, in 1946, in Madison, Wisconsin, my family entertained a Chinese student, and, over a span of 50-plus years, Bob and I have had 50 to 60 international students in our home in Menlo Park, California. We realized that what they were doing wasn’t easy. We wanted to make their journey a bit easier.
Bob King: We’re still friends with many of them. In fact, a Stanford business student who lived with us, Andreata Muforo, from Zimbabwe, now works as a venture capitalist in Nairobi, Kenya, and has agreed to serve as mentor to one of the current King Scholars, Cherrie Kandie. I mean, how good is this?I really think that’s what distinguishes this gift from other programs. You know, in many institutions now, everyone’s focusing on global poverty and economic development and international relations. But bringing in the people who have been the victims of poverty and trying to really leverage that lens is what makes this program unique.
Dottie King: We’re hoping that when Cherrie’s back in Nairobi, she’ll recruit other young women to come to Dartmouth. Cherrie could become a mentor, too.
Bob King: We also need the Dartmouth network to recommend promising students for the program. There’s a huge opportunity for Dartmouth alumni who are connected with developing countries to suggest good candidates to Dartmouth’s Office of Admissions. Those recommendations could be life changing
Dottie King: In general, we hope that being a King Scholar will empower these students to feel that they are part of something bigger than just themselves.
Bob King: We envision a network where King Scholar alumni, mentors, and recommenders— in Lima, Nairobi, Dhaka, and elsewhere—are connected around the idea of making the world a better place. A King Scholar alum could be running a business that’s creating jobs in her homeland. Another could be a social entrepreneur getting funding to open a school or do some other significant social good. A third could be working to end corruption and effect political change. We know leadership can take many forms. We just hope that their education gives these students what they need to succeed in the world today.