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The Business of Giving

Today many rich and famous people give money to charity. Technology billionaire Bill Gates recently gave $ 31 billion to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Other technology leaders also give away money. Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay wants to use his billions to help “make the world a better place”.

Why do charities receive so much money? One reason is that there are more rich people than in the past. The world now has 691 billionaires, compared with 432 in 1996. Rich people in many different countries give millions of euros, riyals, yen and other currencies to charity.

What can the world of charity learn from the world of business? Michael Porter, a management guru at the Harvard Business School, believes that the rich need to think about how their charitable foundations spend money. In the USA, it is traditional for the rich to give money to hospitals, libraries and universities. These are very important, but some people think that this does not always help the very poor.

People with a lot of money often have useful social connections. They usually know how to market ideas and how to interest the media in a subject. So, some people think that the rich can give more than money. They can also use their time, social connections and skills to help find solutions to some of the world’s problems, such as poverty and the environment.

 


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