Philanthropy

  • 07 Jun 2007 at 1:36 PM
  • charity

Charity Caption Contest Winner

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[photo: Lauren Lancaster, Veras Images, celebrate her whole catalog of banker pics]
It turns out, the thing on this hedge fund manager’s mind is:
- Is that sunlight? Must be Saturday. (courtesy of “thain”)
So “thain,” wherever you are (your house in Rye or your NYSE office?), send us your info (tips at dealbreaker dot com) and we’ll put you and a guest on the list. Or if you defer, we’ll pick another winner. Yeah, so we’re probably crashing the event ourselves, aren’t we?
Regardless, everyone should go to the 2007 Summer Soiree to benefit Wall Street Volunteers at the Runway Lounge tonight from 8pm-11pm. You can buy a ticket here. Wall Street Volunteers connects Wall Street Professionals with non-profit organizations they can be passionate about. In other words it does all your philanthropic legwork for you so you can just cut checks and feel decent about yourself.
Thanks for participating. Some of the other captions we really liked:
- Where’s my shirt? I guess I’ll check the markets. (Great if the market weren’t so hot right now (even after the past 2 days))
- Some day soon, those of us who are short are going to win big! (Still under debate, and it’s tough to gauge the guy’s actual size, as objects in bed can appear smaller than they are, especially in the minds of financial professionals)
- The sell-off in China is keeping me up at night. (They all look the same to you!)
- You’re money’s on the dresser, Levin (Bess prefers Blatinos)
- I have no legs (a paradox – it’s not funny if it’s true (well, it kinda is but we can’t admit it))
- I wonder what Kumar’s up to… (if only this were a personal blog)
- I really hope these pics won’t end up on DealBreaker. (Send us embarrassing pictures of your finance industry friends, at tips at dealbreaker dot com and we’ll do a caption contest based on them)

In yesterday’s New York Times Magazine, Peter Singer crunched a few numbers and found out that Gatesie-boy et al could actually be pitching in a tiny bit more.

The rich, then, should give. But how much should they give? Gates may have given away nearly $30 billion, but that still leaves him sitting at the top of the Forbes list of the richest Americans, with $53 billion. His 66,000-square-foot high-tech lakeside estate near Seattle is reportedly worth more than $100 million. Property taxes are about $1 million. Among his possessions is the Leicester Codex, the only handwritten book by Leonardo da Vinci still in private hands, for which he paid $30.8 million in 1994. Has Bill Gates done enough? More pointedly, you might ask: if he really believes that all lives have equal value, what is he doing living in such an expensive house and owning a Leonardo Codex? Are there no more lives that could be saved by living more modestly and adding the money thus saved to the amount he has already given?
Yet it was not until, in preparing this article, I calculated how much America’s Top 10 percent of income earners actually make that I fully understood how easy it would be for the world’s rich to eliminate, or virtually eliminate, global poverty. (It has actually become much easier over the last 30 years, as the rich have grown significantly richer.) I found the result astonishing. I double-checked the figures and asked a research assistant to check them as well. But they were right.

(Of course, we’re only talking about the super, super rich here, not like the peon’s getting a mere $100 million in bonuses, who have much better options for spending their cash).
What Should a Billionaire Give – and What Should You? [NYTimes]

Those No Good Philanthropists

As part of its series on philanthropy, Slate on Friday ran a feature on a nineteenth century critique of philanthropy inspired by Andrew Carnegie’s announcement that he was going to give away his fortune. Surprisingly, it’s not the classical liberal critique we expected it to be. It’s more along the lines of “Will Warren Buffett Go Hell?

Warren Buffett’s announcement in June that he was giving $31 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was greeted with near universal acclaim. About 120 years ago, when Andrew Carnegie declared in his “Gospel of Wealth” essays that he was going to give away his entire fortune and asserted that it was the duty of other rich men to give away theirs, his announcement provoked as much criticism as praise. Labor leaders condemned Carnegie for giving away money that did not rightfully belong to him. Prominent churchmen, including Methodist Bishop Hugh Price Hughes, characterized him as “an anti-Christian phenomenon, a social monstrosity, and a grave political peril.”
Hughes insisted that millionaires, even those who agreed to give away their fortunes, were “the unnatural product of artificial social regulations.” He believed that Carnegie’s accumulation of millions had come at the expense of his less fortunate countrymen. “Millionaires at one end of the scale involved paupers at the other end, and even so excellent a man as Mr. Carnegie is too dear at that price,” he argued. His point was well-taken. One doesn’t have to a Socialist—and Bishop Hughes certainly was not —to wonder whether a more equitable distribution of wealth might be better for society than the idiosyncrasies of large-scale philanthropy.

Looking the Carnegie Gift Horse in the Mouth [Slate.com]