After 35 years of participation in the building industry, we have become more concerned with the design legacy we are leaving behind for all ages of society from preschool childrens' playing fields to mature living residences.
Our first experience with Venture Philanthropy arose with Magna Int'l's constitution declaring that 2% of profit go to charitable causes. Few people would imagine that one day the percentage would represent a total donation of $20M annually. With such large amounts of money comes great responsibility to disperse it to the highest common good. We have donation-matched with community stakeholders to double the gift size, but the bigger question is where is the greatest need, and where can it be the most useful? Bill Gates notes, "The history of philanthropy is littered with well-intentioned inventions that never deliver on their promise."
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the world. It was launched in 2000 and is said to be the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world. The primary aims of the foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. The foundation is controlled by its three trustees: Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. As of May 16, 2013, Bill Gates had donated US$28 billion to the foundation.
The richest 1% of the world’s population are getting wealthier, owning more than 48% of global wealth (Credit Suisse Wealth Report), sparking fears of wealth inequality and economic upheaval. Less talked about is an exponential growth of charitable donations from organizations such as "The Giving Pledge" which is a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. This expanding philanthropy market is huge with the top 10 philanthropists donating $6.76B USD in 2012 alone (see list below).
The Gates foundation have noted that the shortage of skill necessary to research, analyse needs and produce solutions impairs the ability to allot the full amount of charitable funds available on an annual basis. Our training in problem-solving uniquely positions our team to the above services with appropriate skill and efficacy.
We were introduced to this design sector by Roberta Taman who asked us to help her team develop a neighbourhood dormitory for disabled village children who were not able to endure a daily journey to the city school in Katmandu. We have worked with Exhale Group in Malaysia on a teaching garden for Marlborough College and a campus masterplan for the local non-profit, Care Haven Orphanage. In addition to the pro-bono volunteer work noted above, our company pledges 2% of company profits to charitable causes and provides investment to a minimum of one Startup per year.
WORLD'S TOP 10 PHILANTHROPISTS (Total Giving 2012 USD) Bill & Melinda Gates: $1.9B Warren Buffett: $1.87B George Soros: $763M Mark Zukerberg: $519M Walton Family: $452M Michael Bloomberg: $370M Paul Allen $327.7M Chuck Feeny: $313M Gordon & Betty Moore: 250.5M