For the fifth consecutive year, The NonProfit Times (NPT) is honoring CEO Jo Ann Jenkins as one of their “Power & Influence Top 50.”
African Americans/blacks have a history of giving. More than two-thirds give to churches and organized charities. We also give to family members who need help paying bills, college students who need tuition assistance and others. We are responsive to our churches and Greek-letter organizations that make appeals.
After Edgar Bronfman Sr. took over the reins of Seagram in the early 1970s, he expanded the liquor company founded by his father Samuel into a sprawling global comglomerate, taking over juice-maker Tropicana and expanding into the oil and chemical businesses as well.
It's the kind of news story that makes national headlines every year or two: A person of seemingly modest means secretly amasses a small (or not so small) fortune while leading a frugal lifestyle, only to reveal that wealth by giving it all away to charity.
George Aratani was as personally well-known as the imported products sold by the companies he founded - most notably, the Mikasa line of dinnerware, and Kenwood home audio equipment.
Larry Selman had a lot of strikes against him from the start. Weighing just three pounds at birth, doctors thought he wouldn't survive. In high school, he was identified as being developmentally handicapped and dropped out after a teacher told him that he wasn't capable of earning a diploma. The best job he could get was working as a laborer for the city parks department. After the death of his parents and a benevolent uncle who'd helped him financially, he struggled to live on his own in a small apartment in New York City's Greenwich Village.
Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, was recently quoted as saying "We have seen donations for a hundred years ... and the problems and poverty are bigger. They have not solved anything." I'm perplexed by this statement.
As a Boomer, I have often shared my disappointment with my own generation on its performance and commitment to philanthropy. We have a lot to learn from the preceding generation -- the greatest generation -- that not only recognizes the importance of giving and giving back, but sees it as a responsibility to be shared with the generations to come. Actually, I think the Boomers will get there. It will just take some time.
When we think of philanthropy, it's usually as something that high-profile corporate moguls do with the spare millions (or billions) that they don't spend on mansions, yachts and private jets. We tend to overlook another, less common but even more inspiring category of givers: ordinary middle-class or working-class wage-earners who quietly amass sizable fortunes by practicing extreme frugality, and then, after their passing, shock some college or charitable cause with a seven-figure bequest. In Tennessee, for example, folks are probably still shaking their heads in wonderment about the Rev. Vertrue Sharp, a humble minister-turned-farmer who balked at paying 75 cents for coffee at a local diner, but upon his death in 1999 at age 94 left most of his $2 million estate to local hospitals and other charities. And in Minnesota, a humble Polish immigrant handyman named Joe Temeczko, who died in 2001 at the age of 86, left $1.4 million in his will to help New York City rebuild from the 9/11 attacks.
Search AARP Blogs