July 5, 2006
Generosity deserves thanks, not criticism
A letter to the editor in the June 29 New York Times criticizes
Warren Buffett for entrusting his billions to the Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation, suggesting his monies would
be better spent in the United States, not in Africa. What
is your reaction to the suggestion?
Goofy! Warren Buffett has demonstrated in his selfless
actions that charity and graciousness fit together in
the life and legacy of a successful business leader.
It was and is his money, and he can do with that money
what he chooses. Were he financing filthy movies, drug
distribution networks or decadent lifestyles for subsequent
generations of the idle rich, then criticism would be
But to turn over a lifetime of wealth accumulation for
the intention of raising the quality of life globally
- beginning on the African continent - is nothing short
of world-class citizenry. Wags who criticize the generosity
of others need to make their own dollars and distribute
them as they choose, but responsibly, in culturally
A few years ago, my wife and I made a number of modifications
to our home. We liked the results and invited friends
to stop by and see the changes. The very first guests
mentioned that they thought we "should have" - and that
was when we interrupted, saying: "Please do not say anything about any part
of our remodel, except 'oooh! and ahhhh!'" We reminded visitors that we
were not interested in making additional improvement, certainly not just now.
Had we wanted to do things differently, we would have set aside additional dollars
to change it.
Integrity recommendation: With your money, do as you
choose, responsibly. If you do not like our remodel
decisions, and how we choose to spend our money, then
spend your money differently.
The Buffett billions, being
combined with the Gates billions, clearly and dramatically
place impact above ego, modeling serious commitments
to public service. These giants are teaching many people
an effective way to leverage, in positive ways, wealth,
power, status and influence.
Doing good, after having done well, is an important part
of the Buffett-Gates legacy that now becomes a constructive
benchmark for what can be done with talent that creates
Appreciatively and respectfully, it is time to offer a
genuine thank you to those who give, not because they need
their names in lights, but rather because they choose to
provide light and hope for others, long after they have