America’s second oldest philanthropic organization (after the Carnegie Corporation), the Rockefeller Foundation, is celebrating 100 years of global contributions. The Foundation has been instrumental in contributing to educational reforms, agricultural development across the world, and countless breakthroughs in medicine (like developing the vaccine for yellow fever). And they’re not alone; now seems to be a very fertile time for charities and organizations such as the Gates Foundation and Rockefeller. Speaking to the BBC, president Judith Rodin, described the atmosphere today, as opposed to when the foundation began in 1913, “What we’ve seen in the last 10 or 15 years, and now occurring at an accelerated pace, is that we can’t predict everything or prevent it, whether it’s the next earthquake or massive flood… or the next financial ripple… or the next rebellion that’s going to shake some region of the world.” Read the rest of this entry →
The pharmaceutical industry has been weathering public controversies for decades, not only in dealing with damage control on countless patents that are either proven to be ineffective or dangerous, but also with the crushing cost of their drugs in developing countries. This last point has been painfully obvious with anti-malarial agents and HIV treatment; both are usually priced far beyond the means of those that most desperately need them.
Now things are beginning to look better. The BBC recently reported that Britain’s drug giant, GlaxoSmithKline, is radically changing tack and joining the much-needed philanthropic drive to save the lives of millions in Africa by joining forces with prominent charities like Save the Children. Read the rest of this entry →
The recent Madonna debacle in Malawi – centered around a statement sent from the State House erroneously labeling the singer as a pompous attention-seeker for her charity work (who would have thought?) – has led to a much larger investigative look at the role philanthropy now plays in Africa. I recently read a lengthy piece on the BBC’s site by Africa correspondent, Andrew Harding, illuminating a new sensitivity hitherto disregarded and raising the issue of the changing role and challenges Africa faces globally, “That old image of a white person holding a starving black child is just embarrassing these days,” said one official, speaking off the record. “The emphasis is on partnership, on building resilience in communities, and on business models.” Read the rest of this entry →
Who knew that Leonard Lauder’s donation of $131 million to the Whitney Museum of American Art was just a warm up act? The main event: Giving his prized private collection of Cubist art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The gift is estimated to be worth $1 billion. Lauder is the son of Estee Lauder and the former CEO of the famous cosmetics brand.
In a single gesture of giving, Lauder has transformed one of New York’s great cultural institutions. No one is more aware of this than Thomas Campbell, the Met’s director. The Met is one of the world’s great museums. Although it has many treasures, it lacks a world class gallery of early twentieth century art. That is, until April when Lauder announced his donation. Read the rest of this entry →
It doesn’t take a clairvoyant, or genius, to see where the global economic and political muscle will be in the future. The sub-prime mortgage crisis of the last few years highlights not only glaring discrepancies in national economic policies, but also the regulatory mechanics supposedly in place to monitor them. Regardless, the West has been struggling to stay afloat whilst the ‘BRIC’ countries are moving from strength to strength. Brazil, Russia, India and China are the ones to watch, and they are the ones that will be shaping how we will live.
It is with a keen, prescient view that a notable philanthropist has recently set up an interesting new scholarship programme, The BBC reports “US private-equity magnate Stephen Schwarzman has launched a $300m (£200m) scholarship programme to send 200 foreign post-graduate students to study in China each year.” It’s fascinating to see how the tides have turned, and how quickly; it wasn’t long ago that America held the promise of the future – unequaled education, job opportunities and the rest of the Hollywood dream. Now that dream is changing, and Schwarzman sees an important opportunity to encourage a bridge for the future – a bright idea. Read the rest of this entry →
It was interesting to read recently in the New York Times how immensely wealthy Greek tycoons are helping their countrymen in these difficult times. The news has been full of heartbreaking stories of children left to orphanages, a huge surge of homelessness in Athens and other major cities and an exodus of the rich to the more hospitable climes of France or the UK (only just). But, there are those that have stayed and vowed to fight – politically and financially – to help bring their country back from the brink. Read the rest of this entry →
Energy issues are increasingly in the press, and politicians are under more pressure than ever to find solutions to our planet’s finite resources, increasing population (and one that is living longer) and the inability to reconcile the costs of ‘going green.’ Luckily a new generation of engineers and entrepreneurs are being trained at top schools, and are eager, to deal with the things that policymakers won’t – namely effective alternatives to a rapidly changing landscape of energy requirements.
Much has been made of the philanthropic pursuits of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in the last few years, and the extent of their financial muscle only highlights the disparity between the ‘haves and have-nots.’ The world is mostly living through intensive economic turmoil right now, but this belies the huge amount of money that was generated in many corporate circles in the last decade or so. Essentially, the people that have money, have A LOT of it.