For Robert N. Johnson, being a part of philanthropy is all about patriotism. As a child, Johnson grew up with a deeply held love for his country and the people who help improve it. Today, as an IU alum, philanthropist and founding member of the Black Philanthropy Circle, Johnson sees philanthropy as a key measure of patriotism--an action through which it is possible to better our country.
“I believe in doing my part in being in the room to do what is good,” Johnson said.
Since he graduated from IU Bloomington, Johnson has worked at Procter & Gamble and Kraft Foods. In all, his 25-year career led him to over 20 years in leadership roles at four different headquarters around the country. During this time, Johnson also became heavily involved in nonprofit causes--a trend that continues today. Now retired, Johnson maintains involvement with the Smithsonian Institution Asian Pacific American Center Advisory Board, Smithsonian Institution Steering Committee, and the Adelante Foundation, among other national leadership and philanthropic initiatives.
At IU, Johnson’s involvement in philanthropic work has meant acting as the chair of the IU Alumni Association, sitting on leadership and advisory boards throughout the university and becoming a founding member of the Black Philanthropy Circle, an initiative that raises funds to support Black students, faculty, and staff. For Johnson, supporting these philanthropic efforts is a key way to ensure that the values of diversity and inclusion impact the university and the world.
“If you’re not living it every day, those are just words,” Johnson said.