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Thank You George LucasThrough charitable organizations such as TheGivingPledge the likes of Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Larry Ellison, Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg have all made big news with huge monetary donations.

Is it me or are the mega-affluent finally getting the message? Well, the message I’m getting is rather mixed.

To wit, Bloomberg News reports in their article Philanthropy: Companies Seek Greater Returns in Tough Times.’ that “amid soft economic times, companies’ gifts are increasingly freighted with self-interest — whether it’s image-polishing or engendering worker loyalty.”

I also would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to those all-important tax write-offs.

Great. So ROI is an important consideration when engaging in philanthropic “investing.” I suppose I shouldn’t be too shocked. But whatever happened to doing it purely because it was the noble thing to do?

Enter Mr. “I want to send all the right messages in my work” George Lucas.

Aside from allocating the majority of his fortune to charity through TheGivingPledge, he also spearheads Edutopia which uses his Lucasfilm CG and Skywalker Sound technologies to enhance education for a video game generation; as well as Artists for a New South Africa which is championing the fight against AIDS becoming a pandemic. Mr. Lucas also participates in the Racing For Kids program where celebrities visit children’s hospitals in racing communities.

And then there is his true passion – filmmaking. Through his Lucasfilm Foundation, Mr. Lucas also pledged $175-million to his University of Southern California alma mater, the school’s largest ever donation, to build a new 137,000 square foot complex for its film school.

Of the more than 40 iconic members of TheGivingPledge, George Lucas is Hollywood’s only representative. Just think… all those stars emblazoned on Hollywood Boulevard’s walk of fame and he’s the only one to donate most of an immense personal nestegg. Please understand that isn’t a slam on celebrities. There are countless celebs who donate both sizable funds and their own precious time to affect positive change in this world. All who do are to be revered for their efforts.

But over half of a $multi-BILLION personal fortune? Folks… THAT is stepping up to the plate.

  • Horsefeather:

    I think if you check, you’ll find Lucas is not the only one making considerable donations to charity. Warren Buffett, for example, has willed almost his entire fortune, which is considerable, to his charitable foundation on his death. I’ve also been acquainted with some “old money” peeps who were very generous with their fortunes. It seems to me the biggest reason they’re criticized so fiercely is that they don’t do it publically, yelling it from the rooftops so to speak. In the tradition of “old money” charity, it is unseemly at best and egotistically self-centered attention grabbing plays at worst to “announce” your charitable contributions, something that “new money” tends to do. It is in the old tradition where giving is done because “to whom much is given, much is expected,” in other words it’s done for the benefit of the recipients and not their personal glory. I tend to follow the 3 T’s personally, time, talent, and treasure, since I’m not endowed with oodles of liquid assets. I could fill several pages with my philenthropic endevors, but then, even saying that is unseemly on my part, please forgive me. My point is, not everything is as it seems, and while some live a rock star lifestyle, many many others are quietly doing the right thing. Forgive me for rambling :)

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  • Jason:

    I just wanted to comment on an element of Warren Buffet I dislike. He willed his money to charity while he wrote his granddaughter off for something very petty. Now she’s working minimum wage, cleaning millionaire’s houses ironically.

  • Batt:

    Sorry to be posting comments here but there’s something bothering me…
    Are we living in a world of lies? We are bombarded by media lies. They even instilled nonsensical values and beliefs in us. I’ve learnt that the government has a lot of lies that are kept away from the public.

    WikiLeaks did shed some light and yet, the media tried to portray them as a “danger”.

    I used to think the world is a peaceful and happy place to be. But that is a made-belief.
    Women don’t like nice gentlemen at all. They like jerks.
    Women don’t see gentlemen as a ’suitable husband’, they view them as ‘nerds’.

    The world is run by money. You and me may say that money is not the answer, but the others says otherwise.
    Majority wins over minorities and the voices of minorities are ignored.

    What a tragic world… we are selfish, we are arrogant, and we are ignorant.

  • GalKeg:

    lol… on one side of the coin is a belief that the the world is what you make of it. On the other side of the coin is the reality that some narcissistic idiot with more resources than you can screw it up. I too see a world migrating toward an “I want it all and I want it now” affluenza.

    Still, there are those who would risk much to champion the cause of common sense and keep decadence from permeating the collective conscience. Though I fear making an impactful difference is becoming harder and harder to do because the scope and scale of this problem is so huge. Unfortuantely, I think it will take Mother Earth getting pissed to the point where she squishes us like bugs before the people in power wake up and smell the coffee.

    Keep the faith… it may be all we have left.

  • Wow. I really enjoy reading your blog. Can I use parts of your posts on my blog?

  • Torie:

    The genius store called, they’re rnuning out of you.

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