David Bohnett Speeches

Introductory Remarks for Peter B. Lewis

Peter B. Lewis, chairman of the Progressive Corporation, brings the same sensibilities to his philanthropy that he brings to business. He invests in people who have a clear, creative, courageous vision and who break new ground and show results.

Peter’s leadership transformed Progressive Auto Insurance from a 100 person company to a 27,000 employee operation generating $14 billion in sales. His commitment to excellence and to the idea that customer service can be both paramount and profitable made Progressive the nation’s third largest auto insurer and its corporate culture the industry-wide standard for ethics and transparency.

Peter is among of our country's most generous philanthropists. He is a funder who demands the same efficiency, fiscal responsibility, and intelligence from the organizations and projects he supports as he does from his corporate colleagues and, most importantly, himself. Peter’s conviction and drive are tireless; and his strategic philanthropy has raised the bar on smart, focused, and directed giving.

Over the last year and a half, I and several of my colleagues have had the good fortune to work side by side with Peter’s son, Jonathan Lewis, on issues that matter to us all. Jonathan has been a champion of causes assisting LGBT youth, and, a passionate advocate for broadening our horizons and building relationships with our progressive allies. Jonathan is an inspiration to many and his work is a tribute to his father's vision.

Much like his corporate governance, Peter Lewis follows his philanthropic contributions from beginning to end, demanding accountability, responsibility, and results. This has earned Peter a reputation as an unwavering and often demanding supporter of; education (he’s the single largest supporter of Princeton University, his alma mater), the arts, and progressive social change.

Among his many activities, Peter is an advocate of taxing and regulating the use and sale of marijuana and is one of the main financial backers of the partially successful campaign to legalize the use of marijuana for medical use in the U.S.

All of us in this room can learn a valuable lesson from Peter Lewis; philanthropic leadership requires us to hold organizations accountable for fiscal responsibility and financial accountability.

It's my honor to introduce the most famous alumni from Camp Roosevelt in Perry, Ohio, Peter B. Lewis.

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