What's Up With the Philanthropy of Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne?

The Urban Outfitters chain has stirred up its fair share of controversy lately, thanks to trendy tanks and tees with messages like “Eat Less,” “Depression,” and “I Support Same-Sex Marriage.” Urban’s President and CEO, Richard Hayne, can’t seem to stay out of the spotlight, but it’s not all bad press.

At the age of 66, Hayne is worth an estimated $1.8 billion. He established the Hayne Foundation in 1996 and has focused his grantmaking on higher education. However, foundation grantmaking has been pretty limited so far. In 2012, the foundation reported just over $4 million in assets, but $0 in total giving. And according to Forbes, much of Hayne’s personal wealth is tied up in Urban Outfitters stock.

Hayne, a self-proclaimed former hippie, opened his first clothing store with his then-wife in 1970 near the University of Pennsylvania campus. Today, his company operates under the brands Urban Outfitters, Free People, Anthropologie, and Terrain, and specializes in mid to high-end vintage and bohemian clothing and furniture.

When asked to what he attributes his success, Hayne replied, “Well, an awful lot of it is perseverance. One of the things we have to work on is to keep at it, not to be defeated by mistakes. As you make mistakes and you fail, you get back up and do it again and try to learn from what happened and keep at it. That’s a lot of it, and to be able to successfully work with teams.”

In 2009, Richard Hayne was rumored to be the “anonymous source” of a $25 million gift to Drexel University in Philadelphia. Haynes, who is also a Drexel board member, challenged the university to raise an additional $30 million to buy and renovate two buildings for a new art and design center. After being honored with the $100,000 Edward Powell Award in 2011, he sent that money over to Drexel too, along with an additional $100,000 of his own fortune.  Also in the realm of education, Hayne personally awarded a $5 million gift to support initiatives at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia and at least $100,000 to the Children’s Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia.

It seems that Hayne’s philanthropic efforts are fixed on Philadelphia for now. Haynes is a Philadelphia resident and is married to Margaret Hayne, his second wife who serves as the president of Free People. Although the Hayne Foundation doesn't have a website for curious grantseekers to explore, Hayne can be reached by email at richard.hayne@urbanout.com