Oil heiress joins women's hall of fame
For most of her adult life, Swanee Hunt has given away half of her annual income, a commitment she started in 1981, when she earned $70,000...
The Associated Press
SENECA FALLS, N.Y. — For most of her adult life, Swanee Hunt has given away half of her annual income, a commitment she started in 1981, when she earned $70,000.
The daughter of Texas oil magnate H.L. Hunt grew much wealthier as her stake in Hunt Oil skyrocketed, as did the charitable foundation, the Hunt Alternatives Fund, she started 26 years ago to help the poor and powerless around the globe. Her donations exceed $120 million.
Today, Hunt was scheduled to be enshrined in the National Women's Hall of Fame along with Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art dean of engineering Eleanor Baum, Minnesota environmental advocate Winona LaDuke and University of Rochester astronomer Judith Pipher. Julia Child, who died in August 2004, is among five being honored posthumously.
"There is so much hurt and so much need in the world," Hunt said. Alleviating it "is a matter of everyone doing her or his part and not saying, 'Well, I'll just leave it to somebody else because I can only do a little.' "
The hall of fame, established in 1969 in Seneca Falls, where the first known women's-rights convention was held, honors women who have made valuable contributions to society and especially to the freedom of women.
Hunt, 57, a former Clinton administration ambassador to Austria who directs Harvard University's Women and Public Policy Program, took a divergent path from her father, an archconservative with a disdain for philanthropy who died in 1974 as one of the world's richest men.
"His politics and mine are quite different, but there's another part of him that would say, 'You go girl!' " she said. "He just wouldn't be so happy about where I was going."
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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