Dear Friend of DKT,
It is with profound sadness that I share the passing of DKT’s founder and Board Chairman, Phil Harvey. Phil passed away of natural causes at his home at the age of 83.
Phil was many things: an entrepreneur, an author, a serial founder, a philanthropist, and an ardent defender of freedom. As the co-founder of Population Services International in 1970, founder of DKT International in 1989, and founding member of the board of Marie Stopes International, Phil was passionate about ensuring all people could determine their reproductive destinies. His legacy is the countless lives he touched thanks to the organizations he led over the past fifty years.
Phil lived a remarkable life: he and his longtime friend and associate Dr. Tim Black started PSI in 1970 and daringly (in that era) used erotic themes to promote family planning. This edginess would be a lifelong characteristic as Phil would co-found Adam & Eve, an adult erotica mail order company, in 1972 and continue as its President until his passing. His steadfast convictions to defending freedom invited controversy throughout his life and became the subject of two of his books, including ‘Let Every Child Be Wanted’ which chronicled the social marketing efforts that he championed and pioneered. Upholding individuals’ rights and correcting institutional wrongs was a continuing theme across his life and became one of his chief pursuits later in life through the DKT Liberty Project. Phil’s private philanthropy, which measured into the tens of millions of dollars, was spread across a multitude of organizations that supported his principle belief in the importance of an individual’s right to choose how he or she lived life.
Among his friends and colleagues, Phil was known for an economy of words which belied his talent as a writer of five published books and hundreds of articles. Moreover, he was a ‘quiet giant’, a humble and loyal leader who engendered deep trust and wide admiration among those whom he knew and mentored. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, and colleagues, but will be celebrated as a hero whose actions left the world a decidedly better place.
Our thoughts go out to his wife Harriet Lesser, and his extended family.