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Thread: The Greatest Philanthropist Ever?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    The Greatest Philanthropist Ever?

    http://money.cnn.com/2006/06/25/maga...tune/index.htm

    Mr. Warren Buffett is incrementally giving away 85% of his $40+ billion and sending it off to a couple select foundations. Is this perhaps the greatest act in philanthropy ever? Would Mr. Buffett secured his place in history if he made personal donations for public improvements like Carnegie?

    I'm very happy to see that he understand he can't take it with him and sees a moral responsibility.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  2. #2
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    One may question Mr. Buffet's motives for philanthropy (Mark Twain facetiously referred to Andrew Carnegie as "Saint Andrew"), but the bottom line is that a whole lot of money is now finding it's way to some rather worthy causes IMHO.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, ďWhere are you from?Ē doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I am of the opinion that excess wealth in the hands of any person is a very bad thing for civilization. It's a good thing that Mr. Buffett is making an attempt to make the world a little bit better place through his charity.

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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I am not really that educated on Warren Buffett, but he seems like an excellent businessman and I believe he has been an ethical one, as well. What he is doing is highly commendable.

    I wonder why he decided to go with the Gates Foundation as the recipient, rather than establish his own foundation? Did he see creation of his own foundation as self-aggrandizing? Or was it just easier for him to go with an established chariable foundation?

    What ever his reason, good for him. And if he has a few extra million he would like to give away, I recommend the Otterpop Foundation. It is dedicated to helping a poor county planner and his family stop having to shop at Walmart.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

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  5. #5
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    This is quite a chartiable endeavor, but how much of that wealth is actually liquid or easily liquidated? If a large portion of the total is only paper value, then it's not that great, but I'm sure that if 40% of 40 billion is actually liquid, that's still a heck'o alot money.

    As for going with existing foundations, he probably realizes that they are already existing and could more easily make the doantions work sooner.

    Good for you, Mr Buffet. And I'm glad you didn't give any of the money to your kid Jimmy. He'd probably burn through it on drinks and snackies.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    This will solidify his legacy for all of history. However, I donít think that the monetary amount is as important as what that money does. So, time will tell as to whom is the greatest.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop
    I wonder why he decided to go with the Gates Foundation as the recipient, rather than establish his own foundation? Did he see creation of his own foundation as self-aggrandizing? Or was it just easier for him to go with an established chariable foundation?
    He does has a foundation named after his late wife. He went with Gates because they will be around longer to head their foundation and he believes they have a proven track record of getting the $$ out there and making a difference. Also encouraged other philanthropists to donate to existing foundations rather than creating new ones.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Now that Gates is stepping out of Microsoft to run his foundation full time, maybe Buffet believes his money will be in the best hands to manage it for charity. Good for him though. He's probably the most idolized business man in America, so if anything, this is at least setting an excellent example to his acolytes.

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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    This will solidify his legacy for all of history. However, I donít think that the monetary amount is as important as what that money does. So, time will tell as to whom is the greatest.
    I agree that only time will tell. There are people who have given much more money than others, but the others have spent it better. And what makes them the best? Is it who does something for the most people or who does the most for some people? Is Marshall Field or John G. Shedd (The Field Museum of Natural History and the Shedd Aquarium, respectively, of Chicago) who educate millions of people every year better than someone who almost singlehandedly supported the discovery of a cure for a disease that only affects a few hundred or thousand people?

  10. #10
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I have a ton of admiration for Buffett... he never really flaunted his money and is perhaps the most "normal" rich guy in the U.S.

    He'll be listed in the top 5 or 10 in history... once you're up in that stratosphere you really can't rank them (nor does it really matter). Gates will be right there with him I think by the time he is in that age range. Gates has stated before that Buffett was his inspiration for giving back.

    Good call on going with a well-run and well-established beneficiary as well...

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman GŲring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Iím wondering if this is some type of scheme to enjoy nice tax deductions so the real burden for the source of the money falls on the taxpaying public. OK, Iím a cynic.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  12. #12
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    Iím wondering if this is some type of scheme to enjoy nice tax deductions so the real burden for the source of the money falls on the taxpaying public. OK, Iím a cynic.
    There was several conditions on it, one of which is that it could not be taxed, 1.5 billion be spent each year, and that Bill Gates oversee the spending.

    So yes, I think that youíre right; there is something in it for him. However, giving away 30 to 40 BILLION dollars, I think that he is giving away a lot more than he will be getting.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by burnham follower
    I agree that only time will tell. There are people who have given much more money than others, but the others have spent it better. And what makes them the best? Is it who does something for the most people or who does the most for some people? Is Marshall Field or John G. Shedd (The Field Museum of Natural History and the Shedd Aquarium, respectively, of Chicago) who educate millions of people every year better than someone who almost singlehandedly supported the discovery of a cure for a disease that only affects a few hundred or thousand people?

    Comparative is kind of silly. Ask the parents of the kids who will no longer be sick if the health being provided to the poorer nations is important. Ask the parents of kids whose inner city neighborhoods now have schools with computers and a library the family can walk to on saturdays if those are important.

    Quantifying these gifts will be difficult as there are no turnstyles that count individuals. One can hope that the numbers of children dying from desieses such as malaria and aids will decrease.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    1. Awesome that he's giving that much money away
    2. Just as awesome that he's not making it any more of an ego trip than ha has to by giving to Bill's excellent foundation

    You "merrikuns" should be proud to have citizens like that on your shore. Itís not just Kenneth Lays, thank god. I can't imagine Berlusconi or Agnelli giving away more than a tiny fraction of their wealth.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  15. #15
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    I like that he gave the money to be stewarded by someone else. He mentioned that he didnt have the patience to see it through and to listen to as many differing opinions as Bill Gates does. Smart man - gave it to the experts.

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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    Quantifying these gifts will be difficult as there are no turnstyles that count individuals. One can hope that the numbers of children dying from desieses such as malaria and aids will decrease.
    Thats the point I'm trying to make, that it's a little silly to say "The Greastest Philanthropist". I guess i wasn't uber clear

  17. #17
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    I have a ton of admiration for Buffett... he never really flaunted his money and is perhaps the most "normal" rich guy in the U.S.

    He'll be listed in the top 5 or 10 in history... once you're up in that stratosphere you really can't rank them (nor does it really matter). Gates will be right there with him I think by the time he is in that age range. Gates has stated before that Buffett was his inspiration for giving back.

    Good call on going with a well-run and well-established beneficiary as well...


    I agree with the 'being a normal filthy rich guy' thing. His house is Omaha doesn't scream "I'M WORTH 40+ BILLION". It only screams "I am worth just a couple of million".
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  18. #18
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by burnham follower
    Thats the point I'm trying to make, that it's a little silly to say "The Greastest Philanthropist". I guess i wasn't uber clear
    But the thread title is a question. boiker is not presuming that Buffet is.will be the Greatest. He is merely using that title as a starting point for what turned into a nice discussion of the topic.

    The Mendelman School Debt Relief Fund is now accepting donations of $100, $10,000, and $100,000,000.

    Checks or gold coins are prefered.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

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