The Millionaire Next Door

Billionaire’s Big Donation Receives Little Press

Imagine that you worked hard, took much risk and became financially successful, very, very successful.  You employ thousands upon thousands of people.  You even give considerable portions of your wealth to noble causes. 

Earlier this year, Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, designated a gift of $300 million to The Institute of Brain Science.  The money was given in support of the organization’s objective of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.  Interestingly, this good deed was hardly mentioned in the press.  One of the few outlets that covered the story was The New York Times.  But the article was far from the front page.  It was on Page 22.  It covered merely 16.5 square inches.  Translated, that is approximately 18.2 million in donated dollars per square inch.  On the page that followed this write-up about Mr. Allen, a 119 square inch article was published.  It profiled a Manhattan-based bike shop owner who sells “to the stars”, i.e. Cheryl Crow, Lady Gaga, et al.  The bike shop owner received more than one-half page of favorable publicity (more than 7 times the space given to Mr. Allen’s good deed). 

What is the lesson to be learned here?  Give for reasons of generosity, home taught values, self-actualization but not for recognition.  Otherwise you may be disappointed in how little your noble deeds get publicized.


3 thoughts on “Billionaire’s Big Donation Receives Little Press”

  1. I absolutely agree. Give for your own personal reasons, not to be recognized. But that has nothing to do with why the donation received so little press. The mega donations of the mega rich are typically ignored by the media because they contradict the Democratic view that rich people are to be punished and demonized for their success. “They didn’t build that [business]” to quote our President. And the media fall right in line with the Democratic view. You can’t be congratulating someone for donating $300 million and at the same time be screaming about how they need to pay “their fair share” in taxes.

  2. Giving with intent means giving from the heart with the intent to make a positive difference in someone life as oppose to giving to receive recognition and is far more fulfilling.

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