Monday, September 24, 2007

Chris Gardener: From Homeless to a Millionaire

Chris Gardener with his young son was homeless. But he was determined to give a better life to his son. He never gave up on his will to do better. As Gardener and his son struggled with homelessness, he worked to become a top trainee at Bear Stearns. He would work long hours, persistently making calls to prospective clients.

In 1987, Chris Gardner established the brokerage firm, Gardner Rich & Co, in Chicago, Illinois, an "institutional brokerage firm specializing in the execution of debt, equity and derivative products transactions for some of the nation’s largest institutions, public pension plans and unions."

Chris Gardener published his biography which has now been turned into the movie 'The happyness purpose', starring Will Smith, and Smith's own son Jaden Christopher Syre Smith. The unusual spelling of the film's title comes from a sign Gardner saw when he was homeless. In the film, "happyness" is misspelled outside the daycare facility Gardner's son attends. The film focuses on Gardner's nearly one-year struggle with homelessness.

Today Chris Gardner is a philanthropist who sponsors charitable organizations, primarily the Cara Program and the Glide United Methodist Church in San Francisco, where he and his son received desperately-needed shelter. He has helped fund a US$50 million project in San Francisco that creates low-income housing and opportunities for employment in the area of the city where he was once homeless.

As well as offering monetary support, Gardner donates clothing and shoes. He makes himself available for permanent job placement assistance, career counseling and comprehensive job training for the homeless population and at-risk communities in Chicago.

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