Tracy Gary makes an impassioned plea for those who have more, to do more, now that the markets are up, and social needs are greater than ever. How does a person know how much she or he can give? Over what period of time? That is actually a fairly basic, 101, question for any financial advisor who is good with numbers and has basic financial planning software. What these advisors tell me is that the right answer is never the answer. A donor worth $10 mil, reassured she needs only $5 mil for her lifetime financial needs, and who wants to leave $1 mil to each of two children, will conclude that $15 mil of net worth would be almost enough. Then when she gets to $15 mil, she feels she needs $20 mil. As a rule of thumb, for those who have more than enough, financial security equals twice current net worth. Ted Tuner, years ago, interviewed about his philanthropy, was asked at the end of the interview, what would he do next in his giving? He drew back as if bittten by a snake and exclaimed, "Give more? I am down to my last billion!" That was several years ago. He must be up by now, thank God!
Addressing emotional logic with financial logic leads to an impasse. If times are so hard for so many...... hold on to every dime, harden you heart, and protect yourself first because no one else cares whether you live or die. Surrounded by hearts hardened by fear.... we had damn well better take care of ourselves. So the rich, feeling poor, put upon, misunderstood and threatened, draw up the drawbridge.
Tracy in her own life gives from abundance, but the abundance was never piles of dollars, even when she had more than some; the abundance was love, care, and concern; it was a spiritual practice, not a merely financial practice that led to her exemplary lifetime giving. Addressing both/and, the poverty of the spirit and wealth in families - getting that dialogue to happen, so that social capital moves for social impact within a social compact - good luck with that! Yet that is the ideal to which some of us, Tracy included, are drawn helplessly like sleepwalkers assembling at midnight in a town square shadowed with memories and a clock on the spire, striking twelve.