Whether for tax benefits, because of personal tragedy or just from having a heart of gold, many millionaires give away money. Some have given away nearly everything they own, while others manage to give while still maintaining their personal wealth. Either way, it's fascinating when millionaires give away their money, and the rest of us imagine what we would do if we were in the same position.
Millionaires who give away money have the power to change hundreds of lives or make a significant impact in a community. While small donations certainly add up and also make an important difference, when a millionaire gives away money, there is usually an immediate result. The donated money can have long-term effects, such as sending students to college, providing homes and food for the less fortunate, or giving someone in unfortunate circumstances a "leg up." In many cases, those who have benefited from the money go on to become successful and in turn donate their time or money, continuing the work set in motion by the millionaire.
Millionaires who give away money do it for a variety of reasons or a combination of reasons. These donations may be made for tax relief purposes. In this way, wealthy individuals can have a more direct say in how their money is used, and it also benefits a nonprofit organization. Some millionaires give money away because they have been affected in a personal way by a disease or situation. For example, a millionaire with a family member diagnosed with breast cancer is likely to give away money to help with cancer research or that helps breast cancer victims afford treatment. Some millionaires give money to those in less fortunate circumstances because they believe it is the right thing to do. They recognize that they have been fortunate and have the ability to help others.
When a millionaire gives, the donation tends to snowball. Not only are others encouraged to give more, the purchasing power of the organization or recipient increases, which makes all of the donated dollars go further. In addition, retailers and suppliers like to get in on the act when a well-known millionaire donates, and stores or manufacturers will often donate products and services to go along with a millionaire's donation. A wealthy donor may also provide the seed money for a fund-raising event, paying for advertising, space rental and other costs associated with a fundraiser, making every dollar stretch even more.
Before a millionaire gives away money, he will often investigate the organization he intends to donate to and carefully consider how the money will be used. Like everyone else, he wants to be sure that the money will be used for its intended purpose and that it will be spent carefully. The amount of tax saved through donation is also a popular consideration, as is who will actually benefit from the money.
While the rare few millionaires who give away nearly everything they have should be recognized for their generous nature, there is a common misconception that those who maintain their wealth don't give as much. By maintaining their wealth, millionaires who give only a portion of their income are able to continue to give year after year and often in greater and greater amounts. Over a lifetime, a millionaire who holds on to his wealth is likely to give far more than a millionaire who gave everything she had.
- Jon Syverson