Ben Goldhirsh, 26, is the son of self-made millionaire philanthropist Bernard Goldhirsh, who tried to raise Ben with as little sense of entitlement as possible. But when Bernie was diagnosed with brain cancer, he began to consider Ben’s aptitude for running a philanthropic organization. He endowed the new Goldhirsh Foundation and set up a trust fund for Ben, who could only access his money to make investments or start companies. Ben recalls the party he had on the eve of his father’s funeral. His old friends came to cheer him up. In fact, notes Ben, “I got laid in the yard that night under the stars.”
Good to know, and yet…not. One has to wonder at Ben’s argument with his sister Elizabeth, who wants to fund brain cancer research. The siblings argued about this issue for a year, with Ben complaining that brain cancer isn’t very common, so “why throw money at it”? Well, Ben is not a sentimentalist, except when talking about himself. He recounts a story about a realtor showing him slick Beverly Hills mansions with marble fountains. “I was like, dude, you are gonna get fired. Think dirty fingernails and calluses.” Instead, Ben found a rambling property on five acres of Beverly Hills, where he can hike with his cool friends.
Impatient at film school, Ben told his professor “I don’t know if you know this, but I’ve got loot”. He engaged the professor to help get a film company off the ground, dedicated to making “relevent films”. At the last minute, Ben balked about investing 30 million in an “old guy”. Instead he rounded up his pals to start Reason Pictures, where he will make a few films a year. Then he thought of starting a magazine called Good. “I was like, that’s dope.” It will offer a hipster take on the world of energy, politics, indie culture and green living.
Meanwhile, Ben wants to do good in other areas. He gave several thousand dollars to a refugee camp in Ghana. “I just gave that gift, and booked. I didn’t really stay in touch,” Ben confesses. Now Ben has been approached to sponsor a refugee teenager to study in the US. “The girl is so cool” Ben says. “But does it make sense to spend $20,000 on one kid,” or should he invest it in the Ghana school system?
What a mess! Ben even had to miss Coldplay at Coachella. Dude! As Ben explains though, “Sometimes you have a limited bandwidth for helping out.”
Is it me? Somehow I feel this guy has a limited bandwidth, period. Hugely wealthy, hugely ambitious, too lazy to finish film school, but hey, now he’s really putting his nose to the grindstone. “I’m working on having a comfort with money that my father or grandfather never did.” Maybe that starts with getting your fingernails dirty or tampering with other people’s scripts down at Reason Pictures.
I’m wondering: How is Angelina looking to you now? Personally, I like her bandwidth.