Bill Gates has done many things in a single life time, what most others will not be able to even think of doing in many lifetimes! The most famous Harvard dropout started Microsoft with Paul Allen and today Microsoft is the world’s biggest pure software company. They are hardly into hardware! While achieving this, his wealth kept on increasing by leaps and bounds. He started donating his wealth, the figure I could locate is US $ 60/ Billions, his total donations till 2016. It is immaterial how much % of his total wealth he is donating! He has not only donated his wealth but is encouraging many super rich people from different countries including India, to donate their wealth. Slowly but steadily the movement is catching up and people are coming up by donating huge amounts of money. But is this the prerogative only the super-rich? I don’t think so.
Link for Gates Foundation
Gates foundation has three main bylines.
- Ensure more children and young people Survive And Thrive
- Empower the poorest especially women and girls, to transform their lives
- Combat Infectious Diseases That particularly affect the poorest
This mainly suggests of empowerment via education and good health of weaker sections. I had similar thoughts in mind but I thought borrowing proven ideas makes more sense. These bylines make so much sense. They talk of practicalities of life! Ensure that more children and young people survive- it means that let’s nurture our future wealth, the children of today! Empower the poorest especially women and girls- it means make the weaker section of the society stronger. Combat infectious diseases which affect mainly poor. If we want to become Bill G we can try something similar!
There are millions of people world over, who have money far in excess of their needs, mind you they are not super rich but are fairly well off. For theoretical calculation, let us take the case of India and China. Consider a figure of US $ 10000/. This is equivalent to Rs.6.6/ lacs. According to me at least 1 million people in India and maybe 2 million people in China can donate this amount easily! So, in US dollar term it is 3 million people can donate US $10000/ each. The collective amount becomes US $ 30/ billion.
Let us consider next group. Reduce one digit from US$10000/ and make it US$ 1000/ which is Rs.66000/ The number 3 million can become 30 million. So, from this group of people, the amount generated can still be 30/ Billion! Are we not in the direction of becoming Bill G?
If people decide to donate the sums I have indicated, we create one more Bill G!
Folks, I have just shown you some calculations which are hypothetical but these are not an impossibility! This is only tip of the iceberg! Our world needs many Bill G’s; I am a firm believer of theory, that when less and less people are jobless, and in good health, this world will become a better place. But unease, shear pain of looking for your next meal, and many frustrations due to poor health leads to many bad things that happen around us! So instead of happy world, situation is sad. Consider an Utopian scenario where everybody gets a job, their daily two meals and are able to send their kids to school. This is what we should aim for.
What can donations do? It is not about collection of donations and putting them in a bank account or a black box. We must look at the broader picture. What have the Bill G’s of this world done? First step was to think about giving away the wealth. Second, they decided what to do with that money. Then plans, organizations, budgets were prepared. Gates foundation came into being. They decided how to go about all this; the bylines mentioned above tell us the direction that they have taken.
How to put my hypothesis mentioned above, in practice? In our case,
- Firstly, we will have to decide to become Bill G
- We should also want to make some of our friends Bill G! This process has to run like a chain reaction
I am sure something big can happen. In Bill Gates’ case, the money was already there; in our case also money is there. But it is in different locations under control of different people. This really is the problem,
Consider a case of an individual. The person is at stage zero and is not aware how much spare money is available! The quantum of money available for donations is going to be dependent on how the person analyzes the finances.
I honestly feel that we can start this thought process around the age of 40! We will have to make some assumptions here. Firstly, we can assume that we are going to be on the “Tera Firma” till the age of 80. Does 80 sounds like a good figure? We can honestly do a lot in 40 years. We can start with small amounts of money at the younger age. When we retire and are in golden period, we should become more serious about donations. My take is that people keep on doing charity but it is not commensurate with the funds they have. Why this is not done, is because we do not do the realistic calculations. Another thing is there is no well spread culture of donations in our society.
In golden period, money is needed
- to live,
- to have fun and holidays,
- medical emergencies
- and to pass on to the next generation.
If we are lucky and pragmatic, we can make changes in the phase “pass on to the next generation.” Do we really want to do this? Do they really need this? Are they struggling in life? If the answer is NO to all these questions. Calculate how much money you need to live, to have fun and holidays, contingencies, medical emergencies. As we grow older, only medical expenses can start going up; expenses under other three points, slowly will start coming down. The money that we have in golden phase is from Income from our capital or war chaste, and in some cases pension. I feel that we are afraid to touch our capital! Super rich have so much capital that they do not have worry about such aspects. But we the middle class and slightly rich also have more capital than we need. On top of this, we have money invested in homes. Emotional value and “passing on to next to the generation” are main reasons we hold on to them. Why not sale them over a period and start living in rented homes? Some people think that reverse mortgaging could be a better but it is individual choice!
Passing on money and homes to the next generation is a good idea but passing on to them the culture of donating is even a better idea! In our country and I think in Maharashtra, the state where I live, the donation culture has been present only in rich people. But we have forgotten that during last 20 years we have done better than we have ever done, and there is money available for donations.
Coming together and forming and organization like foundations, can be tough and we may be skeptical about it. I suggest following routes.
First and foremost, do not be cynics; systems do work in India many times. In Pune Adar Poonawalla foundation has already taken up 40 kms of public road cleaning under them by donating Rs.100/ crores! .
- Sponsor children’s education – there are institutes like Karve Institute
- Improve schools- Give them modern education tools and for god’s sake repaint some of them, especially vernacular schools! Children from low income families go there! You give I pads to your kids, to play, anyway! Two ipads equivalent is the cost of one school room modernization.
- I am told that we can donate to build public toilets, there are organizations who will maintain these at a cost for you. Do it!
- We can do these things individually.
There can be many ways of doing this without getting bogged down by systems. I am thinking very strongly of formally starting this movement and hope you folks join this. Mind you, money need not be collected, it can be given directly to institutions.
I read a beautiful thought about relationships. Consider relationship between a Kite and thread that flies it. This becomes a beautiful site to behold, when they come together with kites soaring on top of this world! Consider that we are able to bring together, weaker and poor section of the society (for me it is the kite) and the hidden wealth with us (like a Thread) . How this kite will soar in future? Let’s start doing it. I want as many comments from you as you can, and then let us hit road! Come on you Bill G’S!