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Philanthropy: Exploration the art of giving in America

Monday, September 18, 2006

Too Much Money: A Bad Thing?

It is hard to find negative qualities associated with philanthropy; however we live in a world with many different views. Filipino author, Grace, was inspired to spread the word of philanthropy when Warren Buffett, the second richest man in the world, donated 85% of his fortune, about 30 billion dollars, to the Gates foundation. She noted the importance of mega-philanthropists, wishing more people of her heritage, would give back to society. Although charity should not be relied upon, sometimes the public sectors can not reach all of their goals, and it is great that private foundations can have the opportunity to reach out and lend a helping hand. I was surprised to read a blog, written by Tim Graham, which was unappreciative and even insulting of Warren Buffett's generous donation to the Gates Foundation. Graham's argues that people shouldn't rely on private charity and this contribution proves to be a "shift toward a less equal America". I found it extremely frustrating to read an act of such kindness to be considered as any less of compassionate for two reasons. Number one, the Gates foundation is one of the most prominent in the world. Therefore, the board is guaranteed to be established along with perfect execution of financial affairs due to high publicity and government monitoring. Second of all, Buffett did not give the Gates 30 billion dollars; he donated it to their foundation. All of this money is going to help other people, not the Gates. Now the Gates foundation can do more work in philanthropy and touch even more lives than before, ultimately bringing more equality to America!

The following post is in response to Tim Graham's blog, technically difficulties prevented me to post it on his site:

I find it impressive that you can denounce people actively engaged in promoting human welfare. Some of the world’s most successful people give their time and effort to give back through philanthropy, when it is not required. Warren Buffet’s 30 billion dollar donation to the Gates foundation, will contribute solely to societal needs. The Gates Foundation is an optimum resource for Buffett to employ. The Foundation is one of the most prominent in the world, and highly publicized. Therefore, the board members are guaranteed to be efficient and organized, the financial affairs have a flawless reputation and government monitoring ensures for all money to be spent in a dignified manner. Your worry about a “shift towards a less equal America” is not achieved by a philanthropic donation; every penny of Buffett’s money is to be utilized helping Americans and people around the globe. I assure you these efforts contribute to a more equal America. Private generosity should never be relied upon, because then it would be expected. However, I wish people would recognize and come to appreciate the effort mega-philanthropist are putting forth, this does not harm society. Private wealth is able to fill in what public sectors lack, enhancing humanity around globe.


At 4:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your interesting comment. But too much money is not a bad thing. What could be bad is to use the money in a wrong way.

This is why visibility of NGO working in the field is so important. I would like to mention here a new website of a non-profit NGO called Donationpixel.

Their goal is to collect money for different humanitarian projects around the world.

Their website offers the visibility of the donor - this could be interesting for many companies - the choice of the project and the country, and also the visibility of the work done in the field. They also give answers to different questions, like "Where goes my money?" or "what do they do with it?".

It seems to be an interesting new approach to encourage donations for vulnerables in poor countries. The URL is

Maybe a new way to attract more donation.

Thanks for your attention.



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