Institute for Charitable Giving

blue rule

Bulk Goes to Charity

blue rule

There’s an interesting story about Andrew Carnegie.

When three Board members called on Mr. Carnegie for his regular annual gift of $5 million to the museum, he was upset.

“I continue giving each year, but no one steps up to match my giving. I carry the burden for your annual support year after year.

“This year, it has to be different. I will only give my $5 million if you get someone to match it.”

The Board members left terribly disappointed. But they came back three weeks later.

“We have found someone, Mr. Carnegie, to match your gift.”

“Wonderful. I’m delighted. See, I told you if you asked you would find someone. Who is it?”

“Mrs. Carnegie.”

Andrew Carnegie made gifts amounting to $350 million before he died in 1919— a sum that would be worth about $3 billion in today’s dollars.

Bill Gates has always said that, like Carnegie, he will give away most of his fortune before he dies. He plans to make sure his children are well taken care of, but he doesn’t want to leave them the burden of tremendous wealth.

I’m finding more and more men and women will make certain their children are taken care of. But they leave most of their estate to charity or a foundation. They don’t want to hamper incentive, take away motivation, and do irreversible harm by leaving their children and grandchildren too much.

“My money is going to the charities I care about— where I can see firsthand the good it does,” they tell me.


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