The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller
Every act of kindness helps create kinder communities, more compassionate nations and a better world for all … even one painting at a time. Jeffrey Hanson
Jeffrey Owen Hanson is a celebrity in philanthropy circles. By his 20th birthday in 2013 he had generated $1 million for various charities from the sale or auction of his artwork. His goal is to give away $10 Million by his 30th birthday. He’s currently at $4.7 and counting.
In 2005 Jeffrey was a pre-teen with declining school grades who was bumping into things. The cause turned out to be a brain tumor the family named CLOD. CLOD required chemotherapy to treat what turned out to be an inoperable tumor that eventually rendered Jeffrey legally blind. He and his parents, Dr. Hal and Julie Hanson, decided they would not let CLOD defeat them.
Post Card Art
Jeffrey started painting post cards to distract himself during chemo treatments. He can see colors and shapes, just not details. The Hanson’s organized a garage sale to sell things Jeffrey could no longer use to fund the black leather recliner he wanted. At the garage sale Jeffrey gave out his post card art as thank you notes for people who came to the sale.
One of the Hanson neighbors was so impressed with the family’s attitude that he bought the chair for Jeffrey. That prompted Jeffrey to give the garage sale profits to charity. And that led to Jeffrey’s new focus – his personal mission to change the world through his art.
Funding Research With Art
His initial colorful postcard size paintings evolved into a curbside business – Jeff’s Bistro. Proceeds benefited the Children’s Tumor Foundation to fund optic tumor research. Soon Jeffrey was commissioned to produce artwork to auction off for other charities. His artwork has benefited over 200 charities and his mission has become the family business. His father left his Emergency Room practice to join Jeffrey’s mother in managing Jeffrey’s busy charity auction and public speaking appearances. Together they handle the administrative details for the Jeffrey Owen Hanson, LLC and run their company on a philanthropy first principle.
For example, the Team Jack Foundation that supports pediatric brain cancer research invited him to auction off one of his pieces. That raised $56,000 for their research.
Jeffrey’s artwork has evolved from colorful post-card size projects to canvas acrylics. Using bold colors and heavily sculptured texture, he has developed his unique and unmistakable style, which he calls “a sight for sore eyes.”
From CLOD to Extreme Generosity
You can read how the Hanson’s turned the devastation of an incurable tumor into a multi-million dollar charitable-giving family business in Lessons From CLOD.
People express love in endlessly creative ways. For the Hanson’s it started with giving away the proceeds from a family garage sale. Today it is a family business that has given away nearly $5 million to date with plans to double that over the next four years. As you head out to load up on Valentine-themed cards and gifts, think of all the charities that have benefited from this family’s decision to turn tragedy into generosity.
If you want to help Jeffrey reach his 30th birthday goal, or be inspired by his family’s vision for how to overcome Jeffrey’s lack of vision, visit him at Jeff Hanson Art.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy another article about Jeff Hanson: From Dark Into Light.