We’re on the record as being skeptics of the charity industry. But even we were surprised to read how little Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman gives away. The latest issue of Contribute magazine carries a story by Michael Gross describing the paucity of Old Crab Claws charitable donations.
Perhaps to get him started in that noble pursuit [of charitable giving], the venerable New York Public Library chose to honor him at its annual corporate dinner in June—prompting the usually businessman-friendly New York Sun to pointedly note that Schwarzman’s name appears nowhere on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of the 61 most generous givers. Nor is it on BusinessWeek’s Top 50 Most Generous. And it’s no wonder: the 2006 tax return for his Schwarzman Charitable Foundation shows five-figure assets of only $63,424 and notes that only $991 of that is being held for charitable purposes.
Gross is shocked that Schwarzman gives so little to charity. “You’ve proven you can bring home the bacon better than anyone else right now. But so what?” he writes. “When are you and your colleagues going to start spreading around more of the pork?”
We had a different reaction. This is a man with a will of iron, we thought. Anyone with as much money as Schwarzman has is no doubt besieged by charity racketeers seeking to exploit feelings of charitable obligation to fund their favored causes. To stand up against this horde, to refuse to seek public approval lavished upon the likes of Warren Buffett, to turn a deaf ear on the mockery from media types like Gross, to resist the temptation to attempt to buy a VIP ticket through the pearly gates...well, it strikes as heroic.
But then again, maybe he’s just cheap.
Hoard The Bacon [Page Six]
Hedgehog Heaven [Contribute; pdf file]