Philanthropy at the Foreign Policy Blogs has posted a list of the top ten private charitable donations of 2007.
Education is heavily represented in most charitable donations, and the results of last years’ totals are amazing. Just ten people account for more than four billion dollars of gifts and grants, and by most standards it is being considered a good year for charity fundraising. I imagine a lot of this money will find its way into scholarship trusts, alumnae funds, and university building & research projects.
One of the issues raised by such extravagant donations is the wealth of the individuals who can afford to give so much. If they can hand it out with no problems, then they obviously have more than they could ever personally need. Is it too much, or does the pursuit of wealth trickle down and create opportunities for those who aren’t necessarily rich, too?
Then again, how rich is rich? Even minimum wage in America puts one at the top 10% of global income, and a job requiring a college-degree puts someone near the top 3-5% in the world. If that isn’t a good reason to go to college, I don’t know what is!
What’s even better is, some people with plenty of money might be willing to pay for it…not just in the taxes they provide, but also in voluntary contribution.