Sunday 11 December 2016

Philanthropy isn't just for US tycoons - it can do good here, too

Jillian Godsil

Published 11/08/2016 | 02:30

John D Rockerfeller once said we should think of giving not only as a duty, but that it is a privilege to be in a position to make a difference to people’s lives (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
John D Rockerfeller once said we should think of giving not only as a duty, but that it is a privilege to be in a position to make a difference to people’s lives (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife made headlines last year when they announced they will transfer 99pc of their shares in Facebook to a charitable trust.

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While they received almost universal applause for their generosity, there were some dissenting voices. The main criticism came from those who questioned why individuals should be able to shape the future - a role better reserved for governments or public bodies.

These criticisms make for interesting reading, especially in Ireland. A recent report by the Community Foundation for Ireland on how entrepreneurs view philanthropy in Ireland made the following observation: "The term philanthropy also generates some unease in an Irish context, with some respondents expressing their discomfort with the term 'philanthropy' as appearing elitist and not aligning well with Irish culture."

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