Kinray CEO’s philanthropy makes a lot of dreams come true

NEW YORK —Stewart Rahr is at it again: making wishes come true for kids who he said have been “robbed of their childhood” by serious or life-threatening illnesses.

Rahr is the billionaire founder and CEO of Kinray, the nation’s largest privately held pharmaceutical wholesaler, which he built over the last four decades through a high-service policy and personal attention to independent and small-chain pharmacy clients. He’s also the top donor for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York.

Thanks to a million-dollar challenge grant from Kinray’s founder, the group’s fundraising efforts reached a zenith at its annual donor’s gala this year. The event generated an “incredible” response from the hundreds of business leaders and donors who packed the Cipriani Wall Street Restaurant in New York June 10, said Pat Clemency, president and CEO of the New York chapter.

“It was amazing,” she told Drug Store News. “We raised $3 million.”

Rahr was the driving force behind the event’s extraordinary success. Not only did he donate $1 million in matching pledge funds, Clemency said, he also spurred the event’s hundreds of supporters to give more to the cause with a second, unanticipated challenge grant, on the spot.

“He got up and said, ‘I will pledge another $8,000 a table if each table can match my donation.’ He basically empowered the entire room,” Clemency remembered.

With 50 tables filled with donors, that means that Rahr’s total personal commitment to Make-A-Wish came to $1.4 million for the night—and some $3.7 million overall in the six years he has been involved with the program. Rahr’s example also prompted Kinray employees who attended the dinner were prompted by Rahr’s example to chip in another $50,000 on their own, Clemency revealed.

Kinray’s CEO said he’s motivated to give to causes that “touch my heart,” and added that money “can change people’s lives” if applied in the right way. And his philanthropy extends well beyond Make-A-Wish to a slew of other causes.