Every year for over 30 years Ronnyjane Goldsmith has written her obituary determined to make it Sunday New York Times worthy. In the process she has challenged norms, confronted power brokers and changed the landscape of her times.
Goldsmith, a Ford Foundation Fellow, began her career as a public servant, holding appointed positions in Pennsylvania, Maryland and California. The fiscal policies she advanced, well documented by newspapers throughout her career, brought to light conflicts of interests in the public sector that cost taxpayers billions of dollars while enriching the coffers of elected officials, private consultants and labor unions.
She left public service after 25 years in order to live up to her obituary by becoming an entrepreneur and philanthropist. When asked why she was leaving public service, Goldsmith explained only part in jest “because all my references are dead, indicted or incarcerated.”
As an entrepreneur, Goldsmith has built a private investment management business with over $1 million in revenue annually. And as in the public sector, her solutions for private clients are simple and elegant and many times at odds with prevailing practices.
SIGGiving was established by Ronnyjane Goldsmith in 1998, the year she left public service to become an entrepreneur. It began with Goldsmith making a $100 donation to charity for each client referred to her.
Over the decades, SIGGiving has grown to embrace programs providing medical assistance to children without hope; programs improving access to higher education for children without family support or financial resources; and programs to preserve our national heritage.
SIG stands for Straw Into Gold, a moniker that was used to describe Goldsmith’s work in the public sector.
Since inception SIG has expanded to include SIGScholars, SIGTalks, SIGStories, SIGLetters and SIGBooks.
Currently, Goldsmith delights audiences around the country explaining how the simple exercise of writing your obituary can change your life (and the world).