Giving it Away

The Giving Pledge is a new movement founded by mega-billionaires to give away sizeable chunks of their fortunes to charity.

Good for them.  It is a little funny—and sad—that in the AJC article, Ted Turner feels compelled to state the exact amount of his contributions, and to call the giving of them “one of (his) proudest accomplishments”…visions of the publican on the street corner…and didn’t he give a massive chunk of it to the United Nations?  Might as well-a stuck that money in Jane’s hand and let her blow it…

But back to topic: good for them; while none of them ought to feel obligated to give, it’s certainly a good thing to see them giving of their own freewill.  And I especially applaud Warren Buffett, who pledged some time back to give away 99% of his income; that is truly impressive.  So good for them, and this is impressive—to a point.  Question: is it any more impressive than the widow who put the mite into the offering box?  Than the family who makes $40K a year and nonetheless gives 10% to its church?  Than the millions who give quietly, anonymously, to the point of “hurt”, a point none of these well-meaning billionaire philanthropists will ever reach or understand?

No.

But good for them, anyway.  And may their example—and the joy they get from giving—be “catching”.

3 Comments

  1. Hefe on August 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    I agree, good for them. As a side note, I found it funny when ABC did an analysis of this initiative. If every single person on the Forbes richest 500 list gave away half of their income to charity, it would total a whopping 600 billion dollars. Which is exactly 100 billion short of the money blown on the TARP program. We couldn’t even pay for that mess through Warren Buffet’s efforts!

  2. Derlin on August 8, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    I heard some commentator, can’t remember if he was left or right, saying that instead of giving their money away, they should instead build factories and employ people. While there is some validity to that, there are some things money CAN buy, and charity can supply that.

    • Byron on August 9, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      Though it is true that Bill Gates does more to help people by being Bill Gates than by giving away half his money; the commentator has a point. That said, he could give away half his money and still build the factory.

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