Off the Press
March 22, 2011
By Bob Taylor
Bill Gates and I finally have something in common. Neither one of us is at the top of Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s richest people.
The fact that I’m not on the top of the list probably isn’t a huge surprise to most readers. But becoming a millionaire, or a billionaire, has never been one of my goals. Thus far, I’m doing a good job of avoiding it. However, there are Power Ball and Mega Millions lotteries coming up this week, so who knows? If I won a jackpot, after getting resuscitated, I would donate millions to charities.
Gates has a net worth of $56 billion. Yes, that ranked the chairman of Microsoft second on the list. Why? Gates has a generous spirit. His charitable contributions prevented him from being No. 1.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the world. In 2007, the couple contributed $28 billion to charities. The foundation contributes money to combat hunger, poverty, disease and illiteracy around the world. Gates has made huge donations to improve education in the United States, too.
I admire a person like Gates who is willing to give and give and give to make our world better.
Giving is something else that I have in common with Gates. Over the years, I have made contributions to many charities although not on the same scale. In recent times, however, my contributions haven’t been as frequent because of medical expenditures. My pockets are not quite as deep as they once were because of my battle with cancer.
Fortunately, my son David has taken over the role of being the family philanthropist. He has a very generous spirit, making donations to a variety of charities each month.
David is quite a success story. He has overcome a physical disability. He graduated from the University of Washington cum laude and later earned a master’s degree. He has a steady job with a good company. No father could be more proud. I’m especially proud of his giving spirit. David, like his dad, has no ambitions to become wealthy, either.
For many people, this is the giving time of the year. There is, after all, “the infernal revenue service” where some of us will again make a donation to Uncle Sam.
This is also Lent for many churches. This is a time when we are asked to make sacrifices. I used to think giving up pizza during Lent was a big sacrifice. Over the years, my philosophy about Lent has changed. Giving up pizza is no sacrifice, although one can shed a few pounds. The biggest sacrifice we can make is to reach down deep in our pockets and help others.
Lately our thoughts have turned to helping people in Japan, who were hit by 8.9 magnitude earthquake March 11 that was followed by a devastating tsunami.
According to a recent report, 390,000 people in Japan are living in shelters. These shelters need food, clothing and medical supplies.
Many churches are taking extra collections to help the Japanese as well as people in New Zealand, who were hit by an earthquake in February.
For people who don’t belong to churches, there are many other ways to help the Japanese or New Zealanders. When I surfed the Web the other day, among the agencies we can donate to include the American Red Cross, Americares, Mercy Corps, World Vision and the Salvation Army.
In addition, there are numerous charities in need these days. The Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank always needs food and clothing, and Eastside Baby Corner always needs donations.
If you don’t have the spare change but have spare time, there are many organizations that need volunteer help.
The nice thing about giving is you might not be Bill Gates, but you will feel rich.
Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.