“They may not have reached a decision about that, but they have for sure thought about it. The pledge that we’re asking them to make will put them to thinking about the whole issue again.”
“If they wait until they’re making a final will in their nineties, the chance of their brainpower and willpower being better than they are today is nil.”
These are remarks from Warren Buffet who is on the path to challenge, dare, motivate and embarrass the "Great Givers" to commit to giving it away.
You know the dinner party question: "If you could invite anyone you wanted to a dinner party who would you invite?" There was actually a dinner party hosted in New York by David Rockefeller which included Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner and about a dozen more influential people. The topic of discussion was giving it away!
There is a website in support of this venture at: http://givingpledge.org. The Giving Pledge is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice either during their lifetime or after their death.
Warren Buffet is the first to post his pledge. Its typical Buffet (or what I perceive to be typical). I love his last paragraph.
"The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt, but rather gratitude. Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others. That reality sets an obvious course for me and my family: Keep all we can conceivably need and distribute the rest to society, for its needs. My pledge starts us down that course."
I look forward to tracking the success of this effort. It will certainly be interesting to see the response from those who have amassed incredible wealth!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Congratulations to the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund (www.dolanfund.org) which was profiled in People Magazine! The article is in the Heroes Among Us section. The Fund provides advocacy, education, and financial assistance to families caring for ill, disabled and injured children. This issue will be on newsstands June 10th, so pick up a copy! I have been affiliated with this organization since 1998. I currently serve as a Board Member and Secretary. Peggy Dolan, co-founder and Executive Director, is tireless with her efforts to support the needs of families with sick kids. Over the past 34 years, the Fund has helped over 18,000 families! This is wonderful national exposure for this local, grassroots organization!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I came across a term that I really like - Network Weaver. I read about this term at a blogspot - http://networkweaver.blogspot.com. Network Weavers connect people strategically where there is the potential for mutual benefit, help people identify their passions and serve as a catalyst for groups. I have completely gravitated towards this notion of weaving. It is a great metaphor for the work of philanthropic advisors. We do just this - help people uncover their passions and then connect them to people and organizations to carry out the work.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Charles w. Collier of Harvard published a second edition of his book, Wealth in Families. The second edition was released in 2006. I just reread the book and I find it to be a wonderful source of information and perspective into the lives of families. He poses "essential questions" for consideration. These are: What is really important to your family? What are your family's true assets? What should you do to guide and support the life journey of each family member over time? How wealthy do you want your children to be? Do you feel you have a responsibility to society? These are tough questions that deserve some hard contemplation. Articulating the answers helps energize and bring together first a couple and then a family. Sometimes having an objective person in the room helps so that you can hear yourself and your partner speak without having to worry about capturing the precious information being gathered. Collier defines a successful family as "one that knows who it is, what it stands for, and where it is going." This sounds simple, but in reality it is more difficult to achieve. The book is full of questions and live examples of families who have been on a journey. I highly recommend this book and I don't think that you need to have significant wealth for it to be meaningful. The issues are truly fundamental.