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Doug Dohring, ‘ABC Mouse’ honcho: Scientology loses another major whale
One of our readers, who happens to be an Age of Learning employee, forwarded to us an email that was sent out by company CEO Alex Galvagni yesterday:
I’m writing today to share some difficult news. Doug passed away peacefully this morning at 8:00am. He was at home surrounded by his entire family.
When you heard from Doug last week, he was still in the fight. He and his family and doctors threw everything into it these past four months, but it was an uphill battle. In very Doug fashion, a few days ago he elected to stop treatment, and as he put it, “move on to his next adventure.” As always, doing everything on his terms.
I saw Doug last week and had a chance to spend an hour with him talking about the company, our products and mission. He asked me lots of detailed questions about the team, our key initiatives and projects as he always had. When I asked him for advice he paused briefly before expressing full confidence in our ability to carry on his mission. It’s what he lived for, that flame he lit – and that we now carry.
Hundreds of us have known and worked with Doug for years, some of us for decades. We can honor the happiness Doug brought to everything in his life — for the legacy he gave us and for the millions of lives he made better, and will continue to make better, because he lived.
Part of that legacy is the incredible team Doug built over many years. I am supported by so many incredible leaders here, and our sage and steadfast board of directors. This is a team worthy of the great purpose that Doug left in our hands.
The family plans a small, private service. Separately, we plan to pay tribute to Doug with a takeover of the Age of Learning Website in the coming days. We want to post stories about him from you, the friends and colleagues he knew and worked with him. Please send us your anecdotes and memories from over the years–the stories that will help the world know more about this incredible person.
I would like to close with some of Doug’s words from his last message to us:
When I set out to create Age of Learning the better part of two decades ago, it was to do something about one of the most — if not the most — important problems facing society. I couldn’t stand by as kids continued to fall behind, especially at the earliest grade levels. The prosperity of our civilization rests on education, and that foundation needs help. We are fortunate to have such incredible leaders, including my early crew and so many more exceptional individuals who have joined us along the way. Our mission is to help children everywhere build a strong foundation for academic success and a lifelong love of learning, and we are succeeding!
My greatest satisfaction in life has been to see tens of millions of kids benefit from our work, to see the trust we have been given by parents and teachers, and to watch as study after study show that we are moving the needle in education. We are changing lives. It is no longer a question of whether we are succeeding, but the order of magnitude of our impact. I look to the day when we can help billions of kids around the world. It’s a lofty peak, and we won’t get there overnight, but with all of us pushing and keeping that mountaintop in sight, we will wake up one day looking out at a world that we have changed for the better. That is my wish and why we are here.
We called Age of Learning this morning to confirm the news and ask if there was any further memorial information about Dohring yet. “We don't have any right now, unfortunately,” we were told.
For years we’ve written about Doug Dohring and his wife Laurie, who are major Scientology donors (“whales” we call them). Dohring is particularly interesting because his company, Age of Learning, operates the ABCMouse online educational platform that is so popular with the parents of toddlers.
Thanks to the success of ABCMouse, the Dohrings have given at least $20 million to Scientology’s legal slush fund, the International Association of Scientologists (IAS), and another $10 million to funding for the new L. Ron Hubbard Hall in Clearwater, Florida.
Doug was also the father of Veronica Mars actor Jason Dohring, who himself is a Scientologist.
Doug Dohring is well known for turning Neopets into a massive success in the 1990s. Then he founded Age of Learning, which in 2010 launched ABCMouse. For years now we’ve pointed out that parents who subscribe to ABCMouse are helping Dohring contribute millions to Scientology, but Age of Learning flacks deny it when reporters ask them if it’s true.
What terrible timing for Scientology leader David Miscavige. With all that he’s dealing with regarding Danny Masterson, Leah Remini’s lawsuit, and so much more, the last thing he needed was to lose such a reliable form of funds.
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