Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Reader's Digest
Unable to sell their idea of a volume of condensed magazine articles to publishers, DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace did it themselves, founding Reader's Digest in 1922 out of their basement apartment in New York. Lila focused on the business side; DeWitt the editorial. The magazine, which started with 1,500 subscribers, grew steadily, then took off in the 1930s, hitting the million-subscriber mark and going international.
Reader's Digest, which now has 50 editions in 21 languages, is one of the world's biggest monthly magazines. The Wallace Foundation, which dates to the 1950s, has given away more than $2 billion to a wide variety of charitable causes.