I am the president of Greenlight Capital, Inc., an investment advisor founded in 1996 that utilizes deep research to uncover opportunities in the market. I am also chairman of the boards of publicly listed Greenlight Capital Re, Ltd. and Green Brick Partners, Inc.
I started the Einhorn Collaborative which seeks to help Americans build stronger relationships, embrace our differences, and rediscover our shared values and humanity so we can find common ground and solve our most urgent challenges together. This is something I care deeply about and to which I dedicate the majority of my philanthropic time and resources.
To help advance the work of Einhorn Collaborative, I serve on the boards of City Year, an education nonprofit dedicated to helping students and schools succeed through the power of national service, and Cornell University, my alma mater where we have a deep partnership to enable every Cornell student to experience high-quality community-engaged learning. In addition to the work of Einhorn Collaborative, there are other important issues facing the world today; I also serve on the board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to help eradicate a miserable disease that my grandfather suffered from and the Robin Hood Foundation to fight poverty in New York City, where I have been so fortunate to establish and operate Greenlight.
Why did you start Einhorn Collaborative?
I’ve always been interested in helping people get along better with each other. It seems to me that so many of the world’s problems come from a lack of understanding and personal connection. Early in my career, I saw the negative effects of a work environment that discourages cooperation and camaraderie. As I think about today’s challenges – whether it’s big social problems that affect millions of people or smaller conflicts that arise between loved ones, colleagues, and even strangers – I’ve come to believe that a critical ingredient to solving these problems is a much greater level of human understanding. If we could help people across different backgrounds and perspectives engage openly and respectfully, empathize, and seek to understand the other person’s point of view, we would then discover our common ground and mutual understanding. With that, we would be well on our way to address problems big and small. That’s what the foundation seeks to do.
What have you learned from your work in philanthropy?
I am proud of the work we’ve been able to support over the last decade. And yet, in order to have a greater impact toward our mission—especially in a country that’s becoming more polarized and divided by the day—we have to take an even more collaborative approach. That means we need to be more intentional about who we listen to and work with, even when we disagree. It is too easy to surround yourself with people who just nod their heads in agreement. That is not how you get to better answers. I’ve learned this in my work as an investor, but also in our work in philanthropy. We have to push ourselves to find ways to engage with individuals and institutions from different vantage points and backgrounds—especially across the ideological spectrum. Just as we aspire to live in a country that embraces our differences, where people work together across divides to find common ground to advance solutions, we’ve learned how important it is to practice and model these very ideals in our own efforts every day.
What is something people might not know about you?
As I was finishing up my undergraduate degree, I thought: “Wouldn’t it be great to get a PhD in economics?” So I applied to a few doctoral programs. The problem was that my excitement about getting a PhD in economics was not met with excitement from any admissions committee. All of the programs I applied to rejected me. At the time, of course this was discouraging. But in hindsight, I should probably thank them!
What is something that inspires you?
Each and every one of our grantee partners and collaborations. Be sure to check out their work – I’m positive you will be inspired too.
Want to learn more about David Einhorn?
Click here to read our extended Q&A with our Founder and Trustee.