Philanthropy Notes: October 2013

Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy thinks other billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett should stop giving so much money to charity and instead invest their money in start-ups. If Gates and Buffett had donated to aspiring entrepreneurs instead of the poor, they would have generated many more jobs, McNealy said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” show. “Imagine if they had taken their tens of billions of dollars, chopped it up into $5 million chunks and pledged it to a business plan, sponsored by an MBA graduating from an MBA school with engineers and marketers that he’s recruited and they got 50 percent of the company back to the foundation,” he said. The wealthy should also pay less in taxes, he said, because the government does a lousy job spending their money, said McNealy, who now focuses on a California-based charity called Curriki that provides schools with free textbooks.

Easy come, easy go: Two months after pledging $250 million to Centre College in Danville, Ky.—one of the biggest donations in the history of American higher education—the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust reneged. The gift of shares in Universal Computer Systems Holding Inc., which would have doubled the small college’s endowment, was contingent on “a recapitalization of the company,” but the details of the gift to the endowment “were too complicated to meet the deadlines for a deal last week,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The money would have gone to a scholarship program at the small college that hosted the national vice-presidential debates in 2000 and 2012. The withdrawal of the donation was “really unusual,” said Betsy Brill, president of Strategic Philanthropy Ltd., an advisory firm in Chicago.

Nine out of 10 children donate to charity, even if it’s just pennies, according to a study by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and the United Nations Foundation. The years-long study tracked 903 American children from age 8 to 19, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports. Children whose parents discuss giving with them are 20 percent more likely to donate than children whose parents do not, said report co-author Debra Mesch, director of Indiana University’s Women’s Philanthropy Institute.




Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was rewarded for its consistently solid profitability by being added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) last month. Goldman replaces Bank of America, which has spent five years as part of the blue chip benchmark. S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, which oversees the DJIA, said Bank of America, Alcoa Inc., and Hewlett-Packard Co. were dropped because their stock prices collapsed.

Swiss labor ministry officials are investigating Goldman’s offices in Zurich, where almost all of the company’s Swiss-based staff members work, the (U.K.) Guardian reports. Inspectors performed an on-site check last month based on complaints from Schweizerischer Bankpersonalverband, a bank employee lobby, that the bank hasn’t kept proper records of working hours and overtime. “In Switzerland’s finance industry, which generates 6% of the Alpine nation’s gross domestic product, the financial crisis has piled additional pressure on employees in a traditionally fast-paced industry,” the newspaper reports.

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