Today’s business daily has an article that caught my eye ‘Philanthropic billionaires are setting the pace’. I have borrowed some of the content below.
“Thirty eight US billionaires recently pledged to give at least 50% of their wealth to charity via ‘The Giving Pledge’, an initiative co-founded by investor Warren Buffer and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The Giving pledge is a campaign aimed at convincing the rich to donate majority of their wealth to philanthropy. So far, Gates has spent around $29 billion on charity whereas Buffet has promise to donate 90% of his wealth, most of it through Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. These individuals as one of them put it enjoy making money and giving it away. “These are what I look great hobbies!
You could ask, so what happens when they give all their wealth, do they become paupers like the rest of us. Actually, the reverse is true; from this giving more wealth is created.
You could also say these are the wealthiest that is why they can afford to give. That’s probably true but then again in proportion terms it does not matter. If they give billions which is say 50% of their wealth, perhaps if you give even Shs 100 that is alright if it is the equivalent proportion of your wealth.
Did you know
Did you know Americans, did not rely on others—government, an aristocracy, or the church—to solve their public problems; rather, they did it themselves, through voluntary associations, which is to say, philanthropy, which was characteristically democratic – borrowed from Wikipedia.
Did you know the first corporation, Harvard College (1636), also in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was a philanthropic voluntary association created to train young men for the clergy.
Did you know, philanthropy provided the conceptual model, and voluntary associations the procedural model, for the American Revolution. The United was created by philanthropy.
All of private education and most hospitals in America have been necessarily philanthropic. Many were, or were regarded as, counter-cultural and even outrageous when they first arose, but all were “private initiatives for public good, focusing on quality of life”.
Volunteers called it “begging” when Harvard conducted what is believed to be America’s first recorded fund drive. It raised 500 pounds and was thought a “great success.” That same year, Harvard creates the first scholarship fund with a gift from Ann Radcliffe, Lady Mowlson.
I work in a bank. In the recent past there has been a lot of focus on the diaspora. Till you look at the inflows coming to this nation from the diaspora you would not know how much they are contributing to the growth of our economy. Kudos to you diaspora world. It is easy to be out there and chose to forget this is home so when I see all the inflows I am excited because it means you know you know and you know, this is home.
But I want to say this to you. All your monies is going to real estate and some form of investments and that is good. But what if like you made a pledge to give a proportion of all these to impact many more lives. What if you committed to giving to some worthy cause. To educating the many uneducated, to improving the lives of Kenyans.
I was in a place yester where I was told bout a church that has adopted 2013 homes and they will walk with them out of poverty. What if you were part of this solution? What if your monies were used for good! What if a group of you came together and bought some rural school computers.
As I think through this, I feel I have stumbled on gold. As a nation we have made a lot of noise about our leaders. Good and necessary noise. It boils down to the quality of leaders we elect.
However, in many ways I often feel powerless to the quality of leaders we get. We are a poor nation. That is the reality. Many of our citizens leave on below USD 1. As a result, for many, the thoughts about the quality of leaders boil down to someone giving them a few coins to sustain selves, and rightly so. For many this argument of good quality leaders is just a story.
Are there middle class people who should be changing this, yes by all means. Are we enough to change this, perhaps not. No wonder our leaders will often ignore you and me. It is easier to divide and rule using the lower class after all they are the majority. So in many ways I feel helpless on this. It does not help that like many middle class, I would rather turn away and ignore.
But the reason I am excited is finally there is something I can do. I can give. And the giving will in many ways impact where this nation moves to. There is power in giving. It gives you the right to talk.
So this week my challenge as pay day approaches. Set aside even 5% of your salary to giving. We can increase that next month but we got to start somewhere. And this is not tithing; this is giving to a good cause. Our giving pledge and if you struggle with who to give, ask around, there are as many needy causes. African problems will only be sorted by you and me.
Robert Francis Kennedy, “Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills, misery, ignorance, and violence. Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation.”
To a new era of giving, to a new era of service, to a new error of volunterism. Being part of the change. An army of givers.