On charity giving and using cash to achieve it

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Working for a long time at the World Bank on developing programs for countries to solve health, social and political issues, etc, I am often asked what an individual who wants to donate a large sum of money to form a foundation or to an existing foundation should do.

What is working?

The choice is stark and clear. We need to help but the question is how.

My first inclination remains very important in the process. A gifted or rich donor should rather not use the money it has accuminated as private wealth for setting up such foundations. The rich donor or individual should rather use their craft (for example a musician should use the music) versus the money it has acquired from selling it for donation purposes.

The number one issue for many countries is not to generate the initial injection of capital to open a program or to get for instance the first results but rather to generate for the foundation or trust a system that ensures sustainable, long term stream of income to maintain the initial achievements.

And here we are not talking just about money but rather also about public attention and support for the cause. For example, if you are an IT programmer better donate the operating systems to provide the expertise to use it successufully rather than to simply to donate the money and then, walk away. The interest of the donor tends to peak upwardly and downwardly quickly anyway. A clear recipe for disaster. And many iniatives and foudations do fail because of it.

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