At the tender age of ten, Mark Weingard felt the terrible pain of loss when his dad was killed in a car accident just nine days before his 36th birthday. This incident had such a strong impact on Mark’s life that he actually believed he would lose his own life at the age of 35. This belief caused Mark to push himself much harder than most, driving him to become a millionaire city trader before the age of 30. While Mark went on to cheat death a few times, he has managed to live past 35, and despite losing loved ones along the way, he continues to thrive.
The morning of September 11, 2001 is one that no American can ever forget. It started off for Mark Weingard as a stressful and aggravating day, since he was running late for an important business meeting. That meeting was held in the World Trade Center. Death’s second strike came just three months after Mark’s 36th birthday when he lost his fiance, Annika Linden, in the 2002 terrorist bombings in Bali. He just missed being there because of business pressures. Then, two years later in 2004, Mark woke up on Boxing Day to huge waves rushing in on his beach home in Phuket. He lost everything he had inside the house, but he and seventeen others managed to survive by climbing onto his roof. After suffering and surviving loss, Mark decided to change the way he lived. He set up a foundation in honor of Linden, which is now known as the Inspirasia Foundation.
Living Life, Giving Back
Since 2004, Mark has invested in many different companies and donated over ten million dollars to projects in Thailand, India, and Indonesia. These projects support education, rehabilitation, and health. In early 2013, Mark also opened the Annika Kinden Centre, located in Bali, which features a clinic for stroke victims, a kindergarten class for kids with cerebral palsy, and a workshop for prosthetics.
Mark also plans to open a luxurious beach-side retreat where his home in Phuket once stood. He has completely remodeled the home into a ten room residence, and added two more villas for guests to relax in. He plans to donate 15% of this resort’s revenue to charity, and hopes to raise as much as $750 annually. Mark plans to use a different architect for each and every room of this resort. He will use Brazil’s Campana brothers, Thailand’s Eggarat Wongcharit, Spain’s A-cero, Jaime Hayon, and more.
Included at this retreat will be a children’s hotel which will sleep as many as fifteen kids. There will be tree houses, a desert island, and caves to entertain the imagination of visiting children. Speaking of all he has lost and the close brushes with death, Mark says, “I realize that I’ve been very lucky in my life in so many ways and so that’s partly what had made me want to give something back.”
Sources: South China Morning Post, Real Business, Inspirasia Foundation
Angela Kaye Mason is an online researcher, writer, and contributor at entrepreneurweek.com blog network. She may be reached at email@example.com. Follow Angela on Twitter. Find her on Facebook .