A billionaire from Oklahoma joins The Giving Pledge and shares his philanthropic goals.
During a poker game organised by Warren Buffett about a decade ago, Chad Richison first learned about the Giving Pledge. During the presentation, the Oracle of Omaha talked about a campaign he was launching with Bill Gates to get wealthy donors to commit to donating more than half their wealth to charity. When he founded Paycom, based in Oklahoma City, he wasn’t yet a billionaire — but the idea stuck with him.
In addition to his philanthropy in his home state and the mental health field, Richison, now worth $3.4 billion, also spoke about his commitment to the Giving Pledge. According to Chad Richison, 49, who told Forbes in an email interview that he wants to make a sustainable impact, he would find opportunities to give well before he dies to see the good his gifts accomplish.
A quarter of Richardson’s Paycom shareholdings pushed him into the billionaire club in 2019 when his net worth of $1.5 billion made him the youngest on Forbes’ billionaire list. Tuttle, a farming community about half an hour south of Oklahoma City, is where he grew up. In his lifetime, he has donated $57 million to causes ranging from food banks to charter schools across the state.
$5 million of his latest donation will help build free lodging for cancer patients visiting Oklahoma City to receive treatment at a centre the American Cancer Society is establishing in the city. With his combined gifts of $14 million in 2015 and 2017, Richison’s alma mater University of Central Oklahoma has overhauled its athletic program with a completely new locker room and training facility for the wrestling and football teams.
When a former high school wrestler grew up hauling hay in central Oklahoma fields, mental health isn’t the issue you’d expect him to champion. He is working toward this goal with his primary foundation, Green Shoe, which provides weeklong retreats for anyone over 21 to end the stigma surrounding mental health disorders.
According to the Green Shoe foundation, everyone needs to evaluate their childhood trauma, defined as anything less than nurturing, even if they haven’t been diagnosed with mental health disorders.
Despite not having a mental health diagnosis, everyone is responsible for assessing their childhood trauma, which is anything other than nurturing by the Green Shoe Foundation. During the retreat, participants spend five days in small groups of four to six people with the centre’s four licensed therapists for a deposit of $475, which is refunded if they complete the retreat.