Facebook & Philanthropy

Since we all use Facebook on an almost daily basis, I thought it would be interesting to share an article in which its founder features as #9 of the most powerful people in the US today. (You can read it here if you’d like).

What really interested me was not Mark Zuckerberg’s ranking in the power stakes, at age 31, or his net worth now estimated at $47.6 billion, but rather what he has been doing with his position of power and wealth.

Evidently Mark Zuckerberg pours hundreds of millions of his personal wealth into education. Together with his wife they also have plans to open a pre-school/school to provide education and health care to low-income families. Whatever your opinion of Facebook or its founder and CEO, I think it’s fair to say that most of us would find his altruism commendable.

Ranked #5 is Bill Gates listed as Co-chair, trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In the article it says that Mr. Gates sits on the board of Microsoft but is no longer actively involved. What he is involved in, is giving away his personal wealth. ‘Gates and good friend Warren Buffett started the Giving Pledge to encourage billionaires to follow their lead and give away half or more of their wealth — 135 have signed up.’ Mr. Buffet is ranked #2 in the article, second only to Barack Obama.

Most corporate and global organizations today have charitable funds donated to worthy causes. The cynical amongst us may say, ‘well yeah, but that’s a tax write off’. There are also tax benefits personally. All true. Also true is the fact that to be seen to be altruistic does foster goodwill and generate a positive image. But I’m not a cynical person.

Most people I know who are in a position of having more than they need, do something to give back to society. Sometimes monetarily, sometimes in the form of pro-bono work, voluntary work or some other means — whatever is within their means. I know many people practice their philanthropy anonymously.

Does it matter how or why social conscience is motivated? I don’t think it really does. For one thing, I don’t think we need to examine and judge what sits behind a positive action. For another, there are so many people who, and causes which, desperately need help that anybody doing anything for them is vitally needed assistance.

If you read the article you might find it interesting that two of the most philanthropically prominent power position holders come from the digital space — just saying!

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