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The animal welfare community lost a true hero when Sam Simon passed away on Sunday March 7th after a two-year battle with cancer. Although he was only with “The Simpsons” for its first four years, Simon continued to make a $100 million fortune over the years. After his colon cancer diagnosis in 2013, Simon began making plans to give nearly his entire fortune away to animal and child welfare organizations. Simon referred to his charitable giving as a form of “therapy.” In an interview with Maria Shriver he said, “The truth is, I have more money than I am interested in spending. Everyone in my family is taken care of. And I enjoy this.”
Simon created the Sam Simon Foundation with the mission of “saving the lives of dogs to enrich the lives of people.” To meet that goal, the Foundation provides hearing dogs, service dogs for veterans, pet visitation dogs, a mobile vet clinic, and dog adoptions. Thanks to Simon, his foundation will continue to make a real difference in the lives of both dogs and people.
Other non-profit organizations will also benefit from Sam Simon’s philanthropy. Besides his foundation, Simon also made plans to donate millions to such groups as PETA, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and Save the Children. A Sea Shepherd ship named the Sam Simon has been active in campaigns to save ocean wildlife in Australia and the Antarctic. Simon helped PETA save the lives of many animals, and they named their Virginia headquarters in his honor. Save the Children created the Sam Simon Society to recognize his years of dedication to that organization.
Sam Simon will truly be missed by the animal welfare community. As Inside Philanthropy noted in a recent profile of Simon, “He picks his champs and gives them what they need, then sits back and watches.” It would be nice to think that Sam Simon will continue to sit back and watch the fruits of his generosity for a long time to come.
Photo credits: The Sam Simon Foundation, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.