Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Winning Giving Tuesday (or If I Had $45,000,000,000!)

Attention Warriors defending Christmas - you may want to put down your red Starbucks cups and watch some commercials from Best Buy. Those ads tell you that when you give Tech, you get love and "Win the Holidays." Ugh.

Now it turns out that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have won "Giving Tuesday" with some seriously audacious generosity. According to the New York Times:

The Zuckerbergs Giveth Away Their Facebook Fortune Many billionaires turned to philanthropy late in their lives. In Silicon Valley, some are turning to it much earlier. The most prominent example of that trend happened on Tuesday when Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook co-founder and chief executive, said he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, plan to give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares - currently valued at $45 billion - for charitable purposes. The couple made their announcement in an open letter to their newborn daughter, Max.
Now there are several directions we could take this. We could examine how this does or does not fit the patterns being discerned about Millenials. Let's not. We could explore the outrageously out of sync wealth that has sprouted in Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley (Boston) and Silicon Wadi (Israel) and how the new billionaires are handling it. Pass. We could focus on the new philanthropy of those billionaires such as the Giving Pledge, an effort set up in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates, or Warren Buffet's approach to fellow billionaires urging them to give away their money. I like it, but not today.

Instead, I would like to invite friends and colleagues to consider your answer to the question:

If you had $45,000,000,000 to donate for charitable purposes, how would you distribute it? What kinds of causes would you support? Would you give it directly to an individual in need? Would you give it to organizations?

Giving tzedakah is both an everyday mitzvah and an every holiday mitzvah. So after you have thought about what you would do with $45 Billion, make like Samuel J. Jackson and ask "What's in YOUR wallet?" Figure out how you can take an amount that is realistic for you - not Zuckerbergesque - and direct your own tzedakah to one or more of the recipients you thought of!

Happy Chanukah and Happy Giving Every Day.

The announcement that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife would give away billions of dollars drew hundreds of responses from New York Times readers about the causes they'd support Here is a link to what they had to say: If Readers Had $45 Billion to Donate, This Is What They Would Support