Where is our Responsibility?

After WW2, the world was in shambles. It wasn’t just Government that helped people get back on their feet. Many active philanthropic people (families) helped the US get back on its feet, which included humanitarian, scientific, and medical aid. That time began the rise of new philanthropy.

Countless books, research papers, and alike have written about those times. Perhaps because it was a global reckoning where many lacked basic needs like housing and food, that spurred the wealthy into action. What will it take to spur the wealthy into action again?

Indeed, plenty of people give back in different ways, yet the gap between middle-income and upper-income has shifted in the past decade. Middle income is on the way down, and upper income is on the rise, so the divide continues to get larger.

I do believe it is always the private sector that can get things done. The public sector is layered with bureaucracy; although they care, the impact is not what it used to be. For instance, the people in East Palestine, Ohio, where the major train wreck occurred, do not trust FEMA to do their job. Not sure I would either. It makes one wonder where the empathy and responsibility of the top 5% who hold tremendous wealth are.

No matter what you think of Mike Bloomberg, he has given back so profoundly that it would take massive tomes to write about his philanthropic impact. I love him for that alone. He still has plenty to enjoy his life; you can’t take it with you.

I know too many people with deep pockets that write a few checks here or there but could make a significant impact without impacting their own lives. I look towards the few, such as Bloomberg, Buffet, Soros, Feeney, and the Rockefellers and Carnegies, who have given away a tremendous amount of their wealth back to society. Others who have just as much wealth have given back, and although the contribution is significant, it is a small part of their overall net worth.

Countless people have had tremendous financial success but have only given away a small amount compared to their worth. Will it take a massive watershed moment like a war for others to start helping their fellow person?

I had this conversation with a friend over dinner this past week and can’t get it out of my head. We kept asking each other why. Every penny we give away to make an impact makes my heart sing. If I had $30B sitting around, I’d fix NYCHA. The cannabis business we are building hopes to give back capital and change people’s lives that work for us, including others, through organizations we will give to.

So where is the responsibility of those who have had tremendous financial success?