By Contributing Author
Wealth and philanthropy tend to go hand in hand. Million and Billionaires buy houses, make investments and start charity organizations. There is nothing as fashionable as donating to the less fortunate. Not everyone that is wealthy makes the decision to give large sums of money away but many do. There is a lot of opportunity in wealth. If these wielders of money choose to spend it in imaginatively charitable ways, philanthropy could expect a facelift. The fashion of giving is not limited to America. It is an international trend that extends well beyond the United States.
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Power Through Donation
The bigger the donation, the bigger the attention. Charitable donors could choose to spend their dollars on much more outwardly selfish endeavors. They, instead, choose to benefit the public good. There are two sides to every story and some view these hefty donations with a dose of skepticism.
Author David Callahan points out that the billionaires who sign the Giving Pledge, which suggests they donate half of their wealth to charitable organizations, are making more than the bottom 61-percent of Americans. Their wealth is equal to all 90,000 foundations in the U.S. In return, they receive hearty tax breaks. They can donate what they want to whom they want with little accountability and plenty of anonymity. Today, these large donations go to more than museums and hospitals. Mega donors are using their donations to go to battle over ideas that shape education policy, political discourse, healthcare research and more.
There is nothing intrinsically wrong about these charitable offerings. Dr. Callahan simply wishes for people who choose to give unwavering praise to be aware of the power of giving. These billionaires could certainly gain power in much more nefarious fashions. It is hard to heap on the criticism when this money is given with the intention of doing good.
Women have always had a strong relationship with philanthropy but tend to be the invisible givers. The tides are turning and women are influencing the practice of giving in much more visible ways that are hard to ignore. With control of more than half of U.S. private wealth, women make 80-percent of purchases. In general, women donate more of their money than men do. Women give in a different fashion as well. As women become wealthier, there has been a rise in charitable donations to organizations that focus on improving the life and opportunity for females young and old.
Philanthropy is not limited to the United States. Although antiquated gender norms still affect many women, this is not stopping them from investing in their communities. Charitable giving is not limited to money. Women across the world are donating their time, talent as well as money to better their worlds. These amazing women unite and take action on issues that are close to their hearts by volunteering and speaking up for change.
Wealthy women like Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva choose to use portions of their wealth as well as their influence to start charitable foundations. Karimova-Tillyaeva founded two organizations: You Are Not Alone and National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children. These foundations focus on helping orphaned children and children with disabilities. Other women have come together to better the odds of low-income girls by creating solutions for teen pregnancies that stand as a barrier to success in school, work and life.
The United States is far from having a monopoly on charitable giving. There are generous philanthropists from all areas of the globe. Some are more secret than others. Israel has a little-known sect of wonderful givers that generously donate their time and resources to address compelling issues. It is a country filled with inspiring acts of philanthropy. Asia wealthy are also quietly stepping up their commitment to charity. Money is pouring into many causes especially education. The Singapore Government has even encouraged more giving, granting large tax deductions to donors. Azim Premji, a leading exporter of software services in India, donates upwards of eight billion dollars to charity. His donations help fund universal primary education and establishing a just, equitable and sustainable society.
Among the wealthy, philanthropy is near-universal with 97-percent of high net worth individuals making some kind of donation to charity. Many people feel it is their duty and responsibility. Giving provides them with a sense of fulfillment. There are some patterns in the way wealthy individuals choose to donate and why.
People that inherit money feel more of an obligation to give than those that earned their wealth outright. Those who have inherited wealth are also likely to be carrying out the legacies of past generations. Entrepreneurs today wish to give away their money while they are still living. These people want to be involved in organizations, using their skill, knowledge, and experience in a useful way.
Giving to a charitable cause is not a new trend among the wealthy although it is changing. Wealthy individuals gain a lot of praise and power through mega donations. Women are more open and visible about their involvement in philanthropy. Using the money to further important causes is an international endeavor and people around the world use their money to influence different organizations.