Growing up in a financially insecure household gave Robert Rosenkranz “a feeling of needing to rely on myself from an early age,” he explains. “And I think that sense of self-reliance really propelled my success in life,” says the chairman and CEO of Delphi Financial Group. But having read the biographies of great industrial business leaders at an early age, Rosenkranz’s definition of success always extended beyond financial reward. “It just seemed like this was part of American success – you make money and you try to be thoughtful about philanthropy as well.”
After witnessing what he viewed as a “breakdown in public discourse in America,” Rosenkranz channeled his lifelong interest in public policy and strategic thinking to provide a “forum for reasoned discourse about the contentious issues of the day.” Today, Intelligence Squared presents opposing viewpoints to an NPR audience in a debate format.
In addition to supporting intellectual life in the U.S., Rosenkranz has invested in supporting cultural life as well. Together with his wife Alexandra Munroe, the senior curator of Asian Art at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, Rosenkranz preserves the profound writings and art of Mu Xin, once a prisoner during China’s Cultural Revolution.
And while philanthropy is a part of Rosenkranz’s definition of “American success,” he also sees it as an important contributor to American vitality. “We have a very vital cultural and intellectual life in this country and I think that’s in part because it is privately funded. [Philanthropy] doesn’t have to be politically correct. It’s okay if people get offended, because that’s the nature of private risk-taking decision-making. And I think it’s a part of American vitality.”