Way back , Bread had a song “I will give everything I own”, which is actually happening today. The Prince wants to give away his entire fortune to good cause.
The Guardian has brainstormed on how this money is best put to use.
It misses an important point: no matter where it is spent, this money still enriches a few mediators ( same with BP’s 18.7 B settlement). The irony of oil fortune and misfortune. Drill and spill, give and waste. This admin payload can be used to offset gender pay mismatch (women earn 78 cents on a man’s dollar).
Instead, the “portfolio” can be viewed as a 21st-century exercise in how to give wisely and effectively.
1. Assemble a team, cross-sectional and diverse e.g. race, class, gender, sexual preferences, educational level and artistic temperament. No NGO legacy and lethargy.
2. Study best practices e.g. Melinda Gates Foundation, Clinton Initiative, Carter Habitat etc… to avoid pitfalls
3. Upend the brainstorm process (which in itself carries century-old prejudice).
It’s not what to do to make money. This is the other way around, so the assumption has to be from Z-A. Money is not an issue, so how and for whom is it best spent? Do not buy chairs for the conference room. Let them stand and spark.
4. Visualize and optimize big data . Have we missed anything. Has the recession snuffed out any projects worth reconsidered? Are we semi-nomads again after centuries of being settlers? a subsidized Airbnb nation? UBERized tribe?
5. Don’t spend a dime more on energy initiatives. After all, it’s oil profit. It’s everyone’s money, so let not the energy sector double-dip. Let the dead bury its own, the BP way.
6. Don’t spend on just the Middle East – same reason as above, albeit the region tends to draw the most attention e.g. Syrian refugees, rootlessness and Grexit etc…
It’s time for us to feel good that “We Are the World” once again, with philanthropic participation from all over: American, Chinese and Saudi. Set aside 10 per cent to foster thought leadership among globetrotters. It takes money to take money. Mr Buffett has announced an additional giving of close to 3 Billion dollars, mostly goes to Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.
7. Double down on the common goods e.g. city parks and ghetto kids who never see the beach (Midnight Cowboy). Education that encourages trying, failing and recovering, not rote learning and punishment. Disruption is our new badge of honor.
8. Subsidize school lunch ( this might be the kid’s only decent meal per day).
9. Let it sit and earn interests. The next big disaster might need it most. Don’t go on a spending spree e.g. vaccinate everyone in India, or buy latest Japanese toilets.
10. Seek out wise counsel, and use not those who immediately hustle to spend the money bag. No King of Tort.
I am sure the Prince has thought long and hard before arriving at and announcing his decision to give.
It’s best to part with that which you can’t keep, to gain that which you cannot lose.