Give Something Back Foundation Releases "Through the Fires"

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An Astonishing Business and Life Story of Comeback and Giving Back BY ROBERT O. CARR

ISBN: 978-0-9969-9580-1

Anything but the usual how-to-achieve-success-and-wealth CEO story

University of Illinois Press and the Give Something Back Foundation (GSBF) today announced the release and distribution of Through the Fires: An American Story of Turbulence, Business Triumph and Giving Back by Robert Owen Carr, founder of Heartland Payment Systems (NYSE: HPY) and president of the Give Something Back Foundation.

"Through the Fires defines what it means to overcome adversity in business and life,” said Mitch Albom, The New York Times bestselling author of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

Chronicling his hardscrabble childhood and professional setbacks, Robert Owen Carr, chairman and CEO of Heartland Payment Systems, offers inspiration that an idealist—despite being repeatedly knocked down along the way—can ultimately thrive and do a bit to make the world a little better.

From his start as an entrepreneur operating on a shoestring, Carr founded Heartland, one of the largest debit and credit card transaction companies in America. Just as important, he earned a national reputation as a trailblazer for ethical reform of the payments industry.

Carr describes his experience of being scorned and ridiculed by an abusive father, while he pays tribute to his hardworking mother, a night shift waitress, whose wisdom and sense of fairness helped shape the ethic and culture of his flourishing company.

“Anything but the usual how-to-achieve-success-and-wealth CEO story,” said Tony Robbins, #1 New York Times bestselling author, life and business strategist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. “Rather, a story of a never-give-up entrepreneur who triumphs after age fifty…and the life-changing reason he is giving away a fortune.”

As a high school senior living in a financially struggling household, Carr received an unexpected $250 scholarship, which he used towards his tuition at the University of Illinois. Carr promised that when able, he would pay it forward.

Today Carr ranks among the nation’s most respected and successful businessmen, yet he never forgot his commitment to give back. Carr established the Give Something Back Foundation, which has distributed more than $20 million in scholarships—and has pledged at least $20 million more—to help underserved students attend college and graduate debt free.

President Barack Obama recently named Carr to a key post on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council.

Originally released in 2014, the new edition of Through the Fires features a photo essay and updates of the impact Carr’s foundation has had on several of the GSBF scholars, as well as reflections from some of Heartland’s more than 4,600 employees. All proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Give Something Back Foundation.

About Robert Carr 
Carr built Heartland from a modest start-up with 25 employees in 1997 into a Fortune 1000 company that today employs more than 4,600. Heartland’s clients range from major retail chains to restaurants to mom-and-pop stores and websites to colleges and school districts in some of America’s largest cities. 

In an age of increasing cyber assaults, Carr has led Heartland to become a gold standard in security strategy. After a remarkable recovery from the 2008 international hacking conspiracy, Heartland emerged as a champion in the fight against cybercrime. The company’s “Merchant Bill of Rights” has been lauded for its transparency in payments billing.

In 2015, Global Payments Inc., an Atlanta-based worldwide provider of payment technology services, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Heartland for $4.3 billion, and Robert Carr announced he would devote his time to work directly with the Give Something Back Foundation, which was started in 2003 and incorporated in 2006. 

Carr’s next book, which will be released later this year, is entitled Working-Class to College and it is about the obstacles that stand in the way of a college degree for people of modest economic backgrounds.

About The Give Something Back Foundation 

The Give Something Back Foundation works with high school administrators and community leaders to select ninth graders who show academic promise and whose family income level qualifies them to receive a Federal Pell Grant. The goal of GSBF is to help students who may not have considered college an achievable option to get the guidance they need to complete a college degree in four years, debt free. For more information visit http://www.givesomethingbackfoundation.org.

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