My Friend Gloria Steinem

"She from the get-go said to me, 'what you have to say matters.' I think that makes each of us in some ways a better person."

I first met Gloria Steinem a few months before her 58th birthday. Today she turns 79. To say that I can’t imagine my life had she not entered it would be an understatement at best. She has been a rock solid friend, a wonderful advocate, a true visionary and so smart I continue to comprehend things she says years after I first heard her say them.

For her 60th birthday I was part of a group initiated by Marie Wilson, then the head of the Ms. Foundation for Women, that launched an endowed fund in her name enabling Gloria to give money to projects she encounters constantly that are off the radar of most program officers. It was a great gift and one that keeps on giving.

For her 79th birthday I asked if I could help with any celebrating. She responded that more than anything she wanted to spend her birthday writing a long overdue book. This time the gift will be all ours.

It has been said countless times, but Gloria is a treasure. She is a MAKER to the 'nth degree and what puts her so high on that list is that her work and vision has made so many other MAKERS possible. Whether it's through grants or her words of wisdom, Gloria gives so generously so that others are inspired to continue the tradition.

Though it’s her wish to give this year, personally I wish only for more of the same in the years to come. Happy Birthday Gloria!