The 2009 Slate 60 – The largest American charitable contributions of the year.
Resource type: News
By Patty Stonesifer.
“It’s not what you were given. It’s what you do with it that matters.”
Although I was only 8 years old, I vividly remember my mother’s reprimand. I thought my report card—with an unbroken string of E’s for excellent—was cause for great praise. Instead, she focused immediately on the postscript about behavior: “Patty often finishes her work early and distracts the other children.” To her, that was simply unacceptable. I should be helping—not hindering—my fellow second-graders. Nothing less would be rewarded.
The philanthropists who appear on the Slate 60 understand, at least in part, what my mother was saying. This year proved their generosity. Because of the massive losses that even the wealthy suffered in 2008 and early 2009, few would blame them for taking a year off. Giving USA 2009 found that giving in 2008 fell by the largest percentage in five decades. But donors on the 2009 Slate60 came through with $4.2 billion in new commitments (pledges and gifts) to philanthropy.
So first, a heartfelt cheer for the generous donors on this list. They have certainly earned E’s for excellent by sharing their wealth in these difficult times. But—taking a cue from my mother—I challenge the givers on past, present, and future Slate 60 lists to consider what they are doing with their largesse.
Are the Slate 60 really Great Givers or simply wealthy and generous?