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David Liniger

Corporate Executive,
Author, Survivor

Personal drive elevated Dave’s real estate company to the most successful enterprise of its kind. He applies the same fervor and commitment to philanthropy.

Dave founded his business on a singular idea: let real estate agents operate
 with greater independence and garner higher rewards. The concept attracted ambitious, entrepreneurial agents, who over the following decades helped the company expand nationally, then globally.

That was in 1973. Today, his company is the largest, most successful real estate company of its kind, exceeding competitors in property sales across the world.

In 2012, after having spent nearly four decades building his company, Dave was struck with a severe, paralyzing illness. “I had 16 doctors in three hospitals who told my family it was hopeless; I could never survive.”

He rejected their prognosis as he endured therapy for almost two years, pushing himself from the limitations of a quadriplegic to taking 10,000 steps a day without assistance.

Eventually, Dave eased back into work with the help of his service dog, Max. Soon after, he began working with his private wealth advisor (PWA) and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to pursue a business strategy he had been thinking about for a long time: an initial public offering (IPO) of his firm.

His philanthropic commitment has expanded alongside the growth of his company. Desiring to witness a positive impact of his wealth, he is guided by the principle of “giving while you’re living.”

"It opened our minds to what the needs of the community were. With a wonderful, professional staff running your business, you can get involved in the community much more"

He and his wife, Gail, built the private Sanctuary Golf Course in Colorado, devoted to hosting charity tournaments to raise funds for local and national charities. With its 200-odd acres, surrounded by another 8,000 acres of open fields, it has become a sought-after course for professional golfers and local charities alike. With the bulk of the money raised—$73 million since its opening in 1997—directly remitted to the charities, it solidified for Dave that he had become a philanthropist, at once equally strategic and intentional about his giving.

In that vein, he also co-founded a Denver- area wildlife art and natural history museum in 2002, which simultaneously serves as
a community center and hosts classes through the University of Colorado. In addition, he and Gail donated $10 million to Craig Hospital, where he rehabilitated from his illness—the largest gift in the hospital’s history up to that point.

He continues to work with his PWA to pursue his philanthropic goals so they generate the greatest impact possible. “My wife and I are very careful. We have wealth, but we also try to pursue value 
for every dime,” he says. “I want every dollar to go to somebody that needs
it.” He supports multiple individuals and organizations according to that philosophy.

Reflecting on his success, he says, “You can only eat so many steaks, drive so many cars, or live in so many houses. What are you accumulating your wealth for?” Instead, he says, “I want to be a good steward of the lot I’ve been given.”

   
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