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Dan Pallotta

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"I believe deeply in the potential of people and in the potential of our society. And I don't think we've come anywhere close to tapping that potential. Nowhere close."

Dan has been committed to human transformation since he began studying it as a freshman at Harvard. "There weren't many popular frames of reference for human consciousness back in 1979. Words like 'possibility' and 'transformation' weren't in vogue. But I knew from the moment I first encountered them that transformation technologies held the key to creating the kind of world we all want to live in.  It is at the intersection of my passions for transformation and philanthropy that my work and my commitments live. I'm committed to transforming the way our culture thinks about giving because I believe that philanthropy can change the world." 


Dan invented the multi- day charitable event industry. He created the Breast Cancer 3-Day walks and the multi-day AIDS Rides, which raised in excess of half a billion dollars in nine years and were the subject of one of the first Harvard Business School case studies on social enterprise. The model and methods he created are now employed by dozens of charities and have raised in excess of $1.5 billion more for important causes from pediatric leukemia to AIDS to suicide prevention and many others. You can view detailed financial results of the  events, see photos, videos and more on the Pallotta TeamWorks website.


In the last five years alone, Dan has given over 275 talks on philanthropy and innovation in 34 states and eight countries. He is a William J. Clinton Distinguished Lecturer, and has spoken twice at TED, and at and for Google, E-Bay, KPMG, UBS, Stanford, Wharton, Brown, Harvard Business School, Harvard’s Hauser Center for Nonprofits, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government,  NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Council on Foundations, the Philanthropy Roundtable, the Gates Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, national and global conferences for United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Childrens Miracle Network, and many others.


Dan's iconic TED 2013 Talk has been viewed more than 4.3 million times  It is viewed over 1,000 times a day around the world.  It has been ranked one of the 100 most-persuasive TED Talks of all time. It is one of the featured talks in the book, "TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking," by Chris Anderson, Head of TED.

2016 TED Talk

Dan opened the 2016 flagship TED Conference with a talk on being that was broadcast live to 1,200 cinemas around the world. It's about dreaming the dream we haven't dared to dream. You can view the talk here.


Dan is the author of “Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential,” the best-selling title in the history of Tufts University Press. The Stanford Social Innovation Review said that the book, “deserves to become the nonprofit sector ’s new manifesto.” His newest book is, “Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World.” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has described it as “An Apollo program for American philanthropy and the nonprofit sector”. Dan is a featured regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review online. You can view his Harvard Business Review writings here.


He is the founder and President of the Charity Defense Council, a national leadership movement dedicated to transforming the way the donating public thinks about charity and change.


Dan is the Chief Humanity officer for Advertising for Humanity, a bold agency of ideas committed to strengthening the fundraising power of some of America's most innovative humanitarian organizations.


Dan is a recipient of the Liberty Hill Foundation Creative Vision award, the Triangle Humanitarian of the Year award, the Albany State University International Citizen of the Year award, and the Seven Fund’s Morality of Profit Essay Prize.

He has been written about in feature and cover stories in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, CNBC, American Public Media’s Marketplace, the TED Radio Hour, the BBC's Business Matters,  and on numerous NPR stations, among others.

Dan serves on the Elementary School Board in Topsfield, Massachusetts and on the Advisory Board to the One Love Foundation, which teaches youth how to have healthy relationships.


Dan lives in Massachusetts with his husband and their three children.