Gee & Ursula: How do we define generosity?
Melinda French Gates announced this week that she no longer plans to give the bulk of her wealth to the Gates Foundation, instead opting to give away her fortune to other philanthropic endeavors.
In a letter, French Gates wrote: “I recognize the absurdity of so much wealth being concentrated in the hands of one person, and I believe the only responsible thing to do with a fortune this size is to give it away — as thoughtfully and impactfully as possible.”
As KIRO Newsradio host Ursula Reutin recaps, French Gates went on to say that it is important to acknowledge that giving away money that your family will never need is not an especially noble act, and that the real standard of generosity is set by people who give even when it means going without.
“Hats off to her, because I think she nailed it,” KIRO Newsradio’s Heather Bosch said.
“I found it interesting because I thought, well, I actually consider her to be generous,” Ursula said. “And I think that it is a cool act because no one’s telling her what she needs to do with that money. She doesn’t have to do that, but she’s choosing to do that, and there are many people who have billions of dollars who are not choosing to do that.”
Ursula asked: Do you agree that we have to go without to be considered generous?
“One of the things [Melinda French Gates] said is I’m going to be generous with my time, my energy for these things, areas of the world where she feels that people are marginalized — especially women and children. So those are things that she wants to do with her money, and I do look at that and say she is generous,” Ursula said. “She’s generous of spirit, she’s generous with her wealth.”
“That is wonderful,” Heather agreed. “There was a homeless man who offered to buy me coffee one morning when he saw me out on the street doing interviews. And that, in my book, is slightly more generous, but she’s generous too.”
Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.