Brian Sheth is the co-founder and former president of a private equity firm and someone who became a self-made billionaire in 2015 before he was 40. He was worth over $2 billion in 2018 and left corporate life in 2020 to focus on his philanthropic efforts. Sheth’s primary interest today is making a positive impact on the world, primarily in the area of children’s services and wildlife conservation. Sheth founded the Sheth Sangreal Foundation in 2011 to manage his support of worthy causes, allowing him to leverage his investment acumen.
Through the Sheth Sangreal Foundation, Sheth was the major contributor to a multimillion-dollar campus for the Boys & Girls Club of the Austin Area (BGCAA), which serves underprivileged kids in Austin, Texas. The Foundation has also provided learning programs and advancement opportunities for 120,000 children throughout the world.
Sheth’s efforts in wildlife conservation have helped protect 350,000 acres of habitat in ecologically vulnerable areas and conserved 50,000 square miles of forest. They have also protected over 150 endangered species. The Sheth Sangreal Foundation has formed partnerships with at least 90 organizations on a total of 430 projects, which were backed by more than $60 million in donations.
Sheth serves and has served on a number of corporate and philanthropic boards, including the following:
- Re:wild formerly Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC)
- MarVista Entertainment
Sheth Sangreal Foundation
The Sheth Sangreal Foundation’s mission statement is “For our children, our planet and our well-being, to ensure no one stands alone while protecting life in a changing world.” One of its first actions was to raise funds to support children in Sheth’s hometown of Austin, Texas. The child poverty rate in that city had grown rapidly in recent years, making it extremely difficult for many children to reach their full potential. The Sheth Sangreal Foundation donated millions of dollars that largely funded the construction of a BGCAA campus, which opened on April 26, 2019.
The total size of this world-class facility is 32,000 square feet, including a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) facility, library, and a computer lab. It also has various art studios for painting, dancing and music. In addition, the BGCAA campus includes sports facilities for basketball, baseball, soccer and tennis. This campus serves about 1,000 teens and younger children every year, primarily those from Austin’s east side.
Re:Wild (formerly known as GWC)
Sheth is the chair emeritus of Re:wild, formerly known as Global Wildlife Conservation, which works to protect ecosystems and wildlife. Its mission is to “Conserve the diversity of life on Earth, where all of life has value and can flourish: plant, animal and human. We can retain, restore and revitalize our planet.” Sheth believes that investing in environmental conservation provides a return on investment (ROI) that can be measured in real dollars. He says these benefits include “not just clean water, clean air and clean food, which are all important things, but also direct benefits to folks like arable farmland, soil preservation and more.”
Re:wild was incorporated in 2008 as Global Wildlife Conservation and has saved 83 species from extinction since then. Some of the most notable examples of these efforts include the Sehunecas water frog from Bolivia, which wasn’t observed in the wild from 2008 to 2019. Re:wild’s partnership with Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny resulted in an expedition that captured five specimens of these species that will form the basis of a captive breeding program, along with the single specimen already living in captivity.
Other nearly lost species that Re:wild is helping to save include the Wallace’s giant bee from Indonesia, which scientists believed to be extinct until several specimens were sighted in 1981. However, no subsequent sightings of this species were confirmed until 2017, when two specimens were collected in 2018. Re:wild supported an expedition in 2019 that photographed a female specimen in wild for the first time. In 2018, Re:wild efforts to conserve species in Java resulted in a sighting of the Javan rhino, which may be the rarest large mammal on Earth.
Sheth has received recognition from many celebrities and experts for philanthropic efforts. Re:wild has hosted an annual “Wild Night for Wildlife” since 2015 that features discussions on conservation topics. In 2019, this event featured a fireside chat between Sheth and Edward Norton, Hollywood actor and Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity. The pair talked about the importance of saving endangered species and conservation in general. Tate Donovan, winner of Emmy and Tony awards, hosted the event.
Wild Night for Wildlife generates considerable support for Re:wild’s efforts to preserve Earth’s diversity of life, raising over $4 million in 2019. It also honored Russ Mittermeier, Chief Conservation Officer for GWC. Mittermeier also received the Indianapolis Prize in 2018, which is one of the world’s most prestigious awards in conservation.
Brian Sheth has leveraged his professional expertise in investments to succeed in his philanthropic efforts. His experience in designing organizations and managing change has allowed him to set priorities for his charities, allowing him to remain on mission. Sheth also credits his lifelong friendship with Re:wild CEO Dr. Wes Sechrest as one of the biggest reasons for his interest in conservation.