Chris Hohn, a billionaire hedge funder, was engaged in a bitter divorce battle with Jamie Cooper-Hohn. The Hohns were long seen as the golden couple of philanthropy yet their divorce case was set to be the wealthiest in history. According to Patrick Dwyer Merrill Lynch Miami, the divorce case grabbed the attention of the nation as both party claimed that the other would not have been as philanthropic if it hadn’t been for them. Chris Hohn had said that philanthropy had always interested him but that, if he had wanted to join the ranks of people like Warren Buffet, he would need to be rich first. That, however, is something that Patrick Dwyer doesn’t agree with. Indeed, he believes anyone can be a philanthropist, regardless of their income.
Patrick Dwyer Merrill Lynch Miami on How to Be Philanthropic
In order for philanthropy to be effective, it isn’t about how much people give, but rather the way in which it is given. Bigger is not necessarily better, in other words. Rather, it is about how people use the resources they can give in the most appropriate way. Philanthropy is something that everybody should support, regardless of their social position, their wealth, or their monthly income.
People are now being encouraged to set up what is known as a “giving circle”. Anyone can join these and contribute however much they can. In so doing, they pool their resources and ensure that a bigger impact can be made. People can join these circles for as little as a few dollars a day, although some donate thousands at a time. Who gives what doesn’t matter, as it is the combined resource that is able to have a true impact.
When like minded individuals pool their money, while at the same time being able to leverage tax incentives to be philanthropic, they can come up with highly effective strategies to make the most of whatever money they can bring together. Maximizing every dollar can have a huge impact on society as a whole. And since we now live in a digital age, crowdfunding for giving circles has become easier than ever. Indeed, even those with only a few dollars to their name are now able to give what they can and feel they are making a difference.
Philanthropy used to be reserved to the right, even though it has long been known that the poor give proportionally more of their income away. Giving and spending our own money is something that we are, ourselves, in control over. Engaging in philanthropic acts, whether that is by donating $10 or $10 million, is a way to build stronger societies and communities in which people work together for the common, greater good.
Indeed, even those with no money can engage in philanthropy by sharing their skills. That is known to have as many positive benefits as giving money. There is no more reason, therefore, for people to believe they cannot help the less fortunate, nor for the rich to believe it is something only they can do.