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Interview: Hansjörg Wyss, PA philanthropist, on the power of charitable giving to save wild places

In the late 1950s, a young graduate student from Switzerland named Hansjörg Wyss took a summer job with the Colorado Highway Department. In his free time, he explored, climbed, and camped in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains.

That summer left an indelible impression on Wyss, who later went on to found a medical device company that developed technologies to help people heal from severe injuries. But while Wyss found great success in business, he never lost his passion for nature. As his means increased, Wyss became one of the world’s most generous philanthropists, supporting causes ranging from the arts to social justice to science to conservation. In 2013 he signed The Giving Pledge, committing to donate the majority of his fortune to charitable causes.


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