Why Is The Institute Named for Wally Marks?

Wally Marks defied expectations.  A successful real estate developer, he was a man who could have lived a life of comfort, isolated from the world's problems. Instead, he gave generously of his own personal wealth to causes that—at least on the face of it—would seem to violate his own economic self-interest. He chose to come face to face with refugees, homeless people, public housing residents, to understand their circumstances, their humanity. Wally's example demonstrates how each of us can defy the expectations of our personal background, to join hands with others and build a better world.

Wally served as a member of Liberty Hill Board of Directors from 1989-2006, and helped transform Liberty Hill to the organization that it is today. He took particular interest in the seed funding of new and emerging grassroots organizations, and often gave his time as well as his money to these groups. In his respectful and patient, but very persistent way, Wally would urge these groups to build their infrastructure and learn effective organizing practices to reach higher levels of impact. Knowing that Wally would have been an enthusiastic supporter of the Leadership Institute for Change, his family and friends joined together to make a multi-year financial commitment to sustain the Leadership Institute for Change to celebrate his legacy of investing in grassroots leaders working together to advance social change.



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