Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ain't That (Fancy) Philanthropy

Giving, of all kinds, is über greene, since it regenerates both giver and receiver. As I settle in at KIG, I think I'll try to post weekly about particularly inspiring philanthropy and/or service work. Why not start with some of the most well-known philanthropists in the world?

 Photo: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Melinda Gates with a newborn baby at Keleya Community Health Center, in Mali.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently pledged $1.5-billion over the next five years to improve maternal and child health, family planning, and nutrition programs in poor countries. This is in keeping with the Foundation's history and mission to improve health conditions worldwide, and working to oppose hunger and extreme poverty. The pledged amount is about half what the organization gave away, total, in the year 2009.

Now, the Gateses are joining with Warren Buffett to encourage other Seriously Well-Funded folks to give away half of their assets in their lifetimes. The project is called The Giving Pledge, and its rather interesting story was told by Fortune Magazine

Philanthropy at this level is so far beyond me that it's hard to wrap my mind around. Consider the fact that Buffett can, as he has pledged to do, give 99% of his net worth to charity without impacting his or his family's lifestyle at all. Huh?

Still, I love the idea that each participant will write a public letter about how they decided to make this commitment. I am fascinated by the "why," and I very curious to know what will come of it all. Check back for updates!

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