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Selfish or Saviors?

By Darsh Mirchandani

Americans have given around $450 million to charities as of 2019, a 5.1% increase from 2018. However, the number of Americans giving to charity is not increasing; it is actually decreasing. Conversely, the amount of charitable donations from the rich has increased dramatically.

GOPRO’s founder and CEO Nick Woodman recently donated $500 million dollars worth of GOPRO stock to Silicon Valley Community Foundation. However, after this donation was made, GOPROS’s stock value dropped. Since Woodman’s donation was used to set up a DAF, or donor advised fund, he got his $500 million dollar tax writeoff even though the money was still sitting in the DAF and had not been given to an actual charity.

They [billionaires] will have a lot of power and it would be a very large task to diminish their effect...

“Ultimately, it’s not whether it’s fair or not,” said Woodman when confronted about this donation.

“It is better to give because it looks good. That begs the question, are billionaires narcissists?” said math chairperson Mr. Marsh.

Another example of the uber-rich using their wealth to circumvent the system is Bill Gates. Gates was a large supporter of charter schools in Washington State, but voters decided against charter schools three times. Gates and others were able to put the bill on the ballot again, and after millions of dollars, the bill narrowly passed. The State Supreme Court of Washington ruled it unconstitutional because their governing boards are not elected, but are appointed by the founders of the individual schools. He then funded a group to get a new law passed so that charter schools could survive, and eventually was able to bypass the State Supreme Court and hundreds of thousands of voters.

Reproduced with permission from Pixabay

Various billionaires have recently made large charitable donations to various organizations.

“They [billionaires] will have a lot of power and it would be a very large task to diminish their effect,” said senior Khushi Shah.

On the other hand, many have proven to use their money for the good of the world. The richest man in the world, Elon Musk, has donated $5 million dollars to Khan Academy.

“This will accelerate our science content, allow us to do more early learning, allow us to make the software and the practice that much more engaging,” said founder Sal Khan, thanking Elon Musk in a video.

This donation will heavily speed along Khan Academy’s plans for the educational content that they make on their platform. These resources will be used by people everywhere, including right here at New Hyde Park Memorial.

“I think all this new content will be very helpful, especially to new teachers who need help. Overall, I think that this donation will be very helpful,” said Mr. Marsh.


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