German Millionaires Support Democracy

Remember those super rich folk from the USA who decided to donate half their money? Well, that’s not the German way – and for good reason!

In an interview with Der Spiegel, a German millionaire explains why he thinks it’s best for the state to decide where money should be spent in a democracy.

SPIEGEL: Forty super wealthy Americans have just announced that they would donate half of their assets, at the very latest after their deaths. As a person who often likes to say that rich people should be asked to contribute more to society, what were your first thoughts?

Krämer: I find the US initiative highly problematic. You can write donations off in your taxes to a large degree in the USA. So the rich make a choice: Would I rather donate or pay taxes? The donors are taking the place of the state. That’s unacceptable.

SPIEGEL: But doesn’t the money that is donated serve the common good?

Krämer: It is all just a bad transfer of power from the state to billionaires. So it’s not the state that determines what is good for the people, but rather the rich want to decide. That’s a development that I find really bad. What legitimacy do these people have to decide where massive sums of money will flow?

SPIEGEL: It is their money at the end of the day.

Krämer: In this case, 40 superwealthy people want to decide what their money will be used for. That runs counter to the democratically legitimate state. In the end the billionaires are indulging in hobbies that might be in the common good, but are very personal.

Read the rest on Spiegel Online.

The Super Rich Have a Super Nice Pledge

Thirty-eight US billionaires have pledged to give at least half of their total wealth to charity during their life or after their death. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates (who have previously donated very large sums of money) have made an impression on other extremely wealth individuals in the USA with their new organization The Giving Pledge.

The campaign was started in June to convince US billionaires to give away at least half of their fortunes either during their lifetimes or after their deaths.

“We’ve really just started but already we’ve had a terrific response,” Mr Buffett said in a statement.

He added: “The Giving Pledge is about asking wealthy families to have important conversations about their wealth and how it will be used.”

Those who pledge their money to “philanthropic causes and charitable organisations” must publicly state their intention through a letter of explanation.

Read more at the BBC.

Greenest City in Toronto

Greenest City is a charity that grows organic food and helps educate the leaders of tomorrow in Parkdale, a community within Toronto. I’ve been to their HOPE garden and I have to say that it is very impressive and everything they’re growing looks delicious.

A Toronto blog took a close look at the organization:

Yonge Street’s videographer Rose Bianchini went to Parkdale to see what Greenest City is up to in that neigbourhood. Working in urban argriculture, “Greenest City is an award-winning charitable organization that grows local organic food, youth leaders and healthy, sustainable communities with a focus on Toronto’s Parkdale-High Park neighbourhood.”

Click here to go to the video.

Mobile Tech Makes Donating Insanely Easy

It’s the giving time of year, and MobHappy has a short writeup on new technology that allows people to donate to charities, simply by sending a text. This is a great advancement, because it shortens the gap between intention and action where a lot of charitable dollars are lost.

Today, mGive works with over 200 charities, enabling mobile users to donate money quickly and easily via shortcode. And it’s been successful: one campaign, featuring Alicia Keys and conducted during the American Idol TV show saw 90,000 donors raise $450,000 in just minutes. Donors have given about $1.5 million via mobile so far in the US; this exceeds the first year of online donations, and those now amount to some $18 billion per year.

Unfortunately the service is currently only available to our US friends.

Read the rest of the article

Buy Things, Fight AIDS

A new organization called RED created a bit of a buzz this World AIDS Day. Along with the backing of the usual Irish rock singers and African soccer players, they’ve partnered with a number of major corporations to raise both awareness and funds. Apple, Nike, Starbucks and Facebook are some of the names involved. This means you can buy an iPod, and some of the cash you spend will go to The Global Fund. Just in time for the holidays!

(RED)™ is a simple idea that transforms our collective power as shoppers into a financial force that helps those affected by HIV in Africa. To date, $140 million has been generated and 4 million people have been helped through Global Fund programs that (RED) supports. When you choose to buy products from (RED) partner companies up to 50% of the profit goes towards eliminating AIDS in Africa.

Read more at the RED blog

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