Tondo Foundation carries on the legacy of Richard P. Haugland: philanthropist, scientist, & entrepreneur
Richard Paul “Dick” Haugland was – in the order he would have chosen during the last years of his life - a philanthropist, scientist and entrepreneur. He was an incredibly generous man who supported hundreds of thousands of lives across Nepal, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, India and Thailand, his home for the last 13 years of his life.
With a scientific mind and approach, Dick was not perfect; his people skills weren’t the strongest, and he would often drift away from conversations about future plans and funding, but he would listen and, more importantly, he would appreciate the work done. More than once over a beer in the evening he would make comments about the projects he had just visited showing that he hadn’t, in fact, missed any of the important parts.
Those who got to know him well agree he was a kind, naive genius. Whenever he would disappear during a visit, he could be found in a classroom with children, sitting on the floor assisting English or maths exercises. The children loved it. No matter what language, cultural or religious difference there was, he was able to connect with them. Even on the hottest, longest days, he would always find the energy to interact with one more group of children and, although never one for long walks, he would always find the energy to walk up one final hill to see another school.
Dick loved teaching and developing curricula and he was brilliant at it. He had little patience to train other teachers and that’s where his intelligence and speed of thought at times became obstacles to his work: he expected everyone to be as quick as he was. Yet, his intelligence is the reason he could help projects so generously. With his company, Molecular Probes (founded with his wife, Rosaria) he invented some of the most effective fluorescent dyes used in laboratories around the world. The Alexa Fluor Dyes (named after his son Alex) remain the best available after many years. In addition to being a leading scientist, Dick remained CEO and Marketing Director almost until the day the company was sold.
When he sold his company in 2003 he transferred a very significant sum into his foundation, the Richard P. Haugland Foundation, and kept adding assets to it until his death in October 2016. He lived simply and spent very little for himself. He funded generously and enabled numerous projects to continue through hard times and helped many others thrive. This was his passion and source of happiness, and he put his heart into it.