Peter Greene is not impressed with the new form of philanthropy. The new philanthropists are not content to give money to worthy causes. No, they insist either in plastering their names for the public to see, a vanity project or paid advertising. Or they insist on controlling what they find, to make sure the recipients do as they are told. The names Gates and Broad cont to mind.

 

He writes:

 
“If you give an organization like a school or a hospital or a sports team a whole bunch of money in order to build a facility with your name on it, that’s not philanthropy. That’s advertising. Nobody looks at a building with TRUMP in huge gold letters on the side and thinks, “Wow, what a great, giving humanitarian.” Why should that work differently if, instead of building the big TRUMP building himself, he gave someone else money to do it for him?

 

“In fact, modern philanthropists have strangely confused “giving money to improve the life of human beings” with “hiring some people to do work that you want to have done.”

 

This is known as “philanthrocapitalism” or “vulture philanthropy.”

 

“Hacker Philanthropy (as laid out by Sean Parker, napster co-founder), isn’t really philanthropy at all. It’s a process of putting yourself in charge of something and then imposing your idea of a solution on the problem, confident that your outsider mindset allows you to see what the weakness is and “disrupt” it.

 

“The classic view of philanthropy, the one most commonly shared by givers who aren’t filthy rich, is that you find people who are doing something worthwhile, and you help them do it. But in current Rich Guy Philanthropy, you decide the solution you want to implement, and then you hire people direct your giving toward that goal.”

 

“So we finally arrive at a point where the word “philanthropy” means absolutely nothing at all. Hell, Donald Trump is a philanthropist. Vladamir Putin is a philanthropist. Every time I pay my phone bill, I’m a philanthropist. Apparently any time you give anybody any money for any reason, you’re a philanthropist.

 

“Look– here’s the rule. If you are giving money to somebody with the expectation that they will carry out your instructions, further your agenda, owe you compliance and assistance, or complete a project you’ve assigned them– you’re not a philanthropist. If your giving is designed to give you power or control over an aspect of public life in our country– you’re not a philanthropist.

 

“You know what else happened over the weekend? A couple dropped a check for $500,000 in a Salvation Army kettle. And then when news outlets wanted to follow up on the story, they insisted on remaining anonymous. And they didn’t tell the Salvation Army how to spend it, what to spend it on, or where to put their name on the side of the building. They just remembered how hard life was when they couldn’t get enough to eat, so they were hoping they could help other humans in similar dire straits. I may or may not love the Salvation Army, but I know an anonymous philanthropist when I see one or two.”

 

Peter has rediscovering a Talmudic principle.

 

The highest form of charity is when the giver doesn’t know who will receive his gift, and the recipient doesn’t know who gave the gift. No ego. No sense of power or control. No self-gratification.