Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Young Billionaire With a Soul

The ultra rich are not very popular now. Yes, there are exceptions like Bill & Melinda Gates whose foundation is expanding health care around the globe and reduced malaria cases by 50%(a disease that kills about one million people a year). When many people are out of work it's understandable that there is strong resentment from the have-nots toward the haves.

A few years ago when working for a privately held company I attended a weekly meeting that included the founder/owner of the business who herself is in this net worth club. She was frustrated with the meeting and complained to the group, "You all think making money is difficult ?! You should try giving it away." From this sentiment we often see the more sexy projects like high profile museums and expanded cultural institutions. These contributions are indeed significant but when so many people in the world do not have access to clean water or land to grow their own food, the importance diminishes greatly.

Now, in a time when many businesses are trying to quickly 'cash in' with the social media phenomenon how refreshing to read the announcement from Chris Hughes, one of the four founders of Facebook this morning. He spoke about a format for global volunteerism. In his own words: "Jumo brings together everyday individuals and organizations to speed the pace of global change. We connect people to the issues, organizations, and individuals relevant to them to foster lasting relationships and meaningful action."

The site is in its 'soft launch' phase and takes anonymous visitors through a number of philosophical profile questions. Questions come in the form of multiple-choice answers include one's general political position, favorite first names, cars, language preference, leisure activities and priorities of charitable contribution. Information will later be sent to your email address.

This will be an exciting development to watch. I only hope the was for easy name recognition and curious why it was not the traditional not-for-profit

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