Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bill Gates on Microphilanthropy

From Nicholas Kristof's article last week in the New York Times,
“The key thing is to pick a cause, whether it's crops or diseases or great high schools,” he said. “Pick one and get some more in-depth knowledge.” If possible, travel to see the problems firsthand, then pick an organization to support with donations or volunteer time."

Gates's comments speak to the subjective nature of how philanthropy affects us all. People give to causes or charities that matter to them. Generally people have a direct connection to the charity (a disease or cause that affects them or a loved one) in order for it to resonate stongly enough to trigger the action to donate.

That said, the premise of the 1 dollar club is so basic that is does not require the cause and effect scenario to take place. Anyone in the United States can afford 1 dollar. So can anyone in Australia, or Britain or any other developed country. It is the very existence of the 1 dollar club that provides people with an avenue for giving that simply did not exist before.

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