By Eileen Beaudry
I humbly ask a question of all Californian billionaires: What do you want to be remembered the most? Where will you leave your mark? Have you chosen your heritage?
Why not try a humanitarian one, for its size?
Given your good fortune, you have the means to uplift the lives of millions of people. Or impact the environment. You have the ability to relieve suffering.
Is there a problem or project that you are passionate about and that helps us all thrive: the high speed train, teacher salaries, cancer recovery?
What problem makes your heart sing?
What problem is making your heart sick – so bad that you urgently want to change it?
Many in California are applauding you: “Choose your passion. Focus your impact. “
When it comes to homelessness, for example, we have a success story in Finland that has provided people who become homeless with a stable and permanent home since 2007. It then provides them with the help and support they need: drug addiction, training, education or work, for example.
In the United States, more than 25 states have communities that have ended homelessness and one local community is making great strides. In nine months, Mountain View city leaders and the Menlo Park non-profit organization “LifeMoves” have built 100 halfway houses for homeless people, for just $ 100,000 each, and they’re coming. to open in May. “LifeMoves” now has a proof of concept and a roadmap for replication. Their project also brings secondary benefits: better physical and mental health of those accommodated, their eventual reintegration into the labor market, reduced crime and the costs of police services, and often better access to services.
Let’s look at the statewide. Currently, 161,000 Californians are homeless. Let’s increase that to 200,000 to be careful and use the cost of the Mountain View housing unit. Providing transitional or permanent housing to 200,000 people in tiny $ 100,000 houses would cost $ 20 billion.
I really have to ask you: would you feel a lack if your net worth went from, say, $ 60 billion to $ 40 billion? Could it really be more than a change in number on an asset sheet?
Besides accomplishing the creation of social progress, there are other benefits to building a legacy around your area of passion. Science tells us that we live longer when we volunteer and give to our causes and are rewarded with the “help high” – in your case, the billionaire high.
Why not take a page among others who are members of donor organizations? Bill Gates and Warren Buffet launched the “Giving Pledge” in 2010 based on the “Giving While Living” philosophy. Gates and Buffet are leaders in charitable giving and encourage others to make pledges and donations.
Or start your own organization with a coalition of investors. Start “The World Problem-Solvers Club”. Members could collectively focus on a problem and speed up its resolution at a rate of 1 billion miles per hour – the group could be the SpaceX of Bounty!
Let’s start with “The Philanthropy Academy Awards”, where top donors compete for “the year’s most impactful billionaire”. It could be the same glitzy affair except the acceptance speech is a 10 minute slide show on the results of the winner’s generosity. Here are the winners Californians would love to see: “Mark Zuckerberg, Maverick Entrepreneur spends $ 20 billion of his $ 97 billion on homeless Californians.” Or “Jeff Bezos, Maverick Entrepreneur earns $ 177 billion and donates $ 20 billion for universal preschool education.”
When you give, humanity wins. And you too. Why not achieve the greatest buzz or the greatest satisfaction you can have with your prosperity? The peak of a billionaire, a longer life and the generation of meaningful human progress are not to sneeze.
California encourages you to leave your humanitarian legacy.
Eileen Beaudry is a resident of Santa Cruz. She retired after a 30-year career in local government (largely with the City of San Jose) which ended in the position of Director of Leadership Academies for Mid-Level Government Managers who wanted to take up leadership positions in their cities.