Good People Doing Good Things — Giving Back

Today’s ‘good people’ are two men who started with almost nothing, but through hard work and determination made a good life for themselves and their families, and now they are sharing the rewards with others.  I think you’ll find them both worthy … I did.

Calvin Tyler is a success story in more ways than one!  In 1961, Tyler enrolled as a student of business administration at Morgan State College (now Morgan State University) in Baltimore. When his funds dried up in 1963, a year shy of graduation, he left school and took a job as a UPS driver.

Tyler’s lack of a college diploma might have been considered a setback by some, but it didn’t deter this driver with a true drive from steadily rising in the ranks. By the time he retired in 1998, Tyler was Senior Vice President of U.S. Operations and was seated on the UPS board of directors.  That in itself is a success story, but there’s more.

Tyler’s hard work and grit paid off, but he knew that in the business world, his story was the exception rather than the rule. So, in 2002, he and his wife established the Calvin and Tina Tyler Endowed Scholarship Fund at the historically Black university he once attended.  By granting full-tuition scholarships to select Baltimore students in need, they hoped to elevate them to a place where they’d be able to gain a first foothold on the corporate ladder. How far they climbed would be up to them.

Calvin-TylerIn 2016, the Tylers raised the bar, endowing the fund with $5 million. Earlier this year, they broke their own record, pledging $20 million in scholarship endowments. Tyler says he and his wife were compelled by the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on students already struggling to do what they could to help close the financial gap.

“This is why we are increasing our commitment. We want to have more full-tuition scholarships offered to young people so that they can graduate from college and enter the next stage of their life debt-free.”

Calvin Tyler might not have a college diploma to hang on his wall, but he’s earned an advanced degree in paying it forward many times over—and that’s one course of study all of us can learn from.

Mark Dunajtschik escaped Knicanin prison camp near the end of WWII and was forced to flee his homeland of Yugoslavia. Five years after the war ended, he became an apprentice toolmaker.  The trade he mastered then may have shaped his career, but it was the life lessons he learned that ultimately forged the character of the man he’d someday become.

With housing in post-war Germany almost nonexistent, Dunajtschick’s only option at that time was living in a housing facility for the mentally and physically disabled. Seeing the daily challenges his housemates faced, he realized how just lucky he was.

“Because I was given the opportunity to live in that home, which was founded by an industrialist in the 1880s, now that I am in a position that I can also do something, naturally I want to do it.”

At the age of 85, as one of the most successful industrialists and real estate developers in New Zealand, Dunajtschik is indeed uniquely poised to deliver on his desire to give back.  Already known for his philanthropic works—having financed the country’s Life Flight Trust helicopter rescue service—Dunajtschik’s latest major humanitarian endeavor is overseeing the construction of a new children’s hospital in Wellington.


In 2017, he committed $50 million dollars of his own money toward building it.

“After a conversation between my business partner and my life partner we decided, why not build it? Those people that are born with a healthy body and mind can look after themselves and those unfortunate to be born with, or suffering ill health, need our help.”

Dunajtschik had no desire to simply throw money at the new hospital. He takes a hands-on approach to all his projects.

“By utilizing my expertise as a developer we would be able to produce more real estate than if we were to just write out a cheque and leave the bureaucrats to build it. 

Over the summer, construction passed a major milestone. As Dunajtschik looked on, the industrial support cranes were cleared from the site, signaling the exterior was complete.  The hospital is expected to open within a year.

24 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — Giving Back

  1. Both men of great heart and generosity Jill. The only thing I wish is that Calvin Tyler had perhaps thought that there might be youngsters of another colour who might merit the same thing and had extended it beyond a Black University. I understand that Black children have more limited opportunities but so might others. He has worked hard but might there not in UPS have been someone who took a chance on elevating him who wasn’t black? Having said that, it’s his money and who am I to suggest how he handles it. More power to him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, while I do see your point, and it has merit, the thing is that for every one person who helps Blacks or Hispanics gain a foot up, there are 50 or more people helping white people, so I get why he was helping primarily Black students.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Jill, this paragraph speaks volumes about leveraging people’s skills.

    “By utilizing my expertise as a developer we would be able to produce more real estate than if we were to just write out a cheque and leave the bureaucrats to build it. ”

    When we give back, we should consider using our experiences and expertise to help people get an opportunity, a pay it forward view. Keith

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