Atlanta Entrepreneur and Philanthropist’s Pay It Forward Project Yields Big Dividends

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

The 450 elementary school students at Atlanta’s Globe Academy were surprised by a special presentation at their assembly on December 19. Amy Wilson, Executive Director of the Rhame Family Foundation, had a challenge for the students: take this $20 bill and do good deeds for others. Wilson had a “contract” with each child, sealed with a handshake. The idea of having each child use the $20 to pay it forward was in sync with the philosophy behind the Rhame Family Foundation and its founder, Atlanta entrepreneur and philanthropist Tyson Rhame.

“I think it is important to teach people of all ages the value and joy of giving,” says Rhame Family Foundation President Tyson Rhame. “The “pay it forward” effort actually gives people, like these elementary students, the opportunity to feel the joy inside that comes from giving; that feeling is something that can last a lifetime, warm a heart, spur compassion, and actually be spread to others. I have been so impressed by what the students have done for others and how they embraced this project – it is exactly what I was hoping for.”

Among the ideas the students had for paying it forward were to buy food and clothing for the homeless, buy toys for children who had none, donate to an animal shelter, to buy supplies make items for those in need, help senior citizens, and get treats for children in the hospital. Some students pooled their money to make a greater impact, or used it to raise more money. Results are shared on the foundation’s Facebook page, Rhame Family Foundation.

The Rhame Family Foundation was created in 2012 by Atlanta businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Tyson “Ty” Rhame as a way of giving back to the community. The foundation’s mission is to support Atlanta public schools through grants providing resources for teachers and students. 

A 1988 Air Force Academy graduate, Tyson Rhame currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserves and as an Air Force Academy Liaison Officer. He was recently appointed to the USAFA Endowment’s board of directors. 

His business interests are in such diverse areas as real estate, resource recovery technology, crowdfunding, workforce management, online art brokerage, and currency exchange. Rhame also has business interests in aviation, yacht and automobile services and is a professional pilot.

Ty Rhame is an active philanthropist who has donated over 1,000 acres of land – valued at more than $20 million – for conservation purposes in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. He also gives back through his businesses, personally, and the Rhame Family Foundation. Through his business-related philanthropy programs, he has made significant donations to charities including the Salvation Army, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Save the Children, Make-A-Wish, the USO, Hire Heroes, Wounded Warrior Project, Meals on Wheels, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and many others.