setting an example

6 Aug

i work with non-profits every single day. i get to see them live their mission and hopefully, help them fulfill that mission. american philanthropys rely heavily on donations from foundations and donors. many other countries aren’t quite setup this way — uk charities get a fair amount of government funding and only recently have started pushing for private donations. canada is somewhere in between.

and our non-profits are hurting right now. it’s a time when everyone is really taking a serious look at what is required (staff/programs/etc.) to make their mission happen and keep lean on operations. like i have to tell y’all any of this. it’s in the news, on tv, and being talked about pretty heavily.

bill and melinda gates have been open for years about how much they are leaving their relatives. heck, warren buffett has famously declared he’s giving 99 percent of his wealth to non-profits. they are setting the benchmark for other wealthy americans to follow by creating “The Giving Pledge.”

have you heard about this? basically, it’s getting america’s billionaires to pledge to give at least 50% of their wealth to non-profits. and yes, that’s Billions with a B. pretty awesome, right?

you’ll probably recognize about half the names on that list: Ted Turner, T. Boone Pickens, George Lucas, Barron Hilton, Michael Bloomberg. equally impressive is the list of folks and their stories about how they decided to give. many of them see fulfilling this pledge as a moral obligation to give back to those who are not as fortunate.

these are truly amazing and powerful people. what i love about almost all of their stories is that they are self-made. they started businesses from the ground up and worked for what they earned. these men and women understand the value of a dollar and it makes it that much more meaningful to give it away.

makes my $10 gift to Clemson’s Annual Fund feel puny.

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