Univision executive chairman Haim Saban, 66, says he wants his giving to be "narrow and deep," with a focus on health care in the U.S. and Israel. He tries to split his giving evenly between the countries. Haim, who made his fortune via Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Fox Family Channel, says the execution of his philanthropy goes this way: "Cheryl makes the plans, and I show up."
With the Free Clinic, the connection with Cheryl was personal. In 1983, she was a divorced working mother with two kids who had some health coverage but not enough to cover herself. She says she was "mortified" at the thought of going to a clinic for free care ("I thought I had a big tattoo that
said 'Loser' written on my forehead") but swallowed her pride and went.
"But I was treated like a regular person," says Cheryl, 60, who married Haim in 1987. "Very respectfully. Nobody looked at me like I was an oddball, just as a patient, with all the rights. And I was blown away."
She describes the experience as "a tectonic shift in how I was able to relate to myself in terms of worth." It also led to a $10 million donation in 2008 that eventually made the very sam e West Hollywood facility the Saban Free Clinic. "I was giddy about it," she says. "To be able to come full circle like that."
The couple also has made a $40 million donation to Children's Hospital Los Angeles' Saban Research Institute. But there's one area to which Haim has little interest in making donations. "We don't need another museum," he says. "If someone says they want to launch a museum, maybe for arts and crafts from Israel, I'll say: 'Good luck with it. If you invite us to the opening, we'll come and get some hors d'oeuvres.' "