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Philanthropy - Australia's Stingy Rich!

25 September 2000 at 12:09 pm
Staff Reporter
"We have a pretty pathetic record in Australia of rich people giving money!"

Staff Reporter | 25 September 2000 at 12:09 pm


Philanthropy - Australia's Stingy Rich!
25 September 2000 at 12:09 pm

“We have a pretty pathetic record in Australia of rich people giving money!”

‘It’s pretty damn poor, and that is a sign I think of a lack of maturity in our society. That those in our society who have done well, whether they like it or bloody well don’t like it, they should give!’

Strong words from the former head of Microsoft, Daniel Petre, and now the chairman of Kerry Packer’s Internet arm, e-Corp, during an interview on ABC radio last month about philanthropy which included Pro Bono Australia and Liz Cham from Philanthropy Australia.

This month Petre isn’t letting up on his campaign to engender a sense of giving, which coincides with the visit to Australia by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Petre says Australia’s stingy rich should take a long hard look at themselves and the absence of a culture of giving.

Petre told Pro Bono Australia ‘that the amount of grovelling that has to go on to get money out of new and old rich people is just pathetic’.

‘It should be the rich person’s responsibility to say well, I’ve been fortunate enough to do well and now it is my responsibility to give back, not horde.’

In similarly strong terms Petre says the only way to enforce a culture of giving is to embarrass rich people.

He says Not for Profits should not have to just accept the token amount from the rich guy who big-notes himself at a charity auction by buying a signed football…rather they should say publicly hey…you make millions.

He says these stingy people should be embarrassed at every turn.

‘It’s not a tax issue, it’s an issue of being socially responsible, about caring more about other people than yourself.

‘The money didn’t come from Mars it came from the people, the community and country they live and work in so they have a responsibility to give it back, a responsibility to use their wealth well.

‘We’re not asking them to give it all away and be Mother Theresa.’

Petre says some of Bill Gates’ example should rub off on Australians.

The e-Corp boss spent nine years with Microsoft and has a close relationship with Bill Gates.

He says Gates is committed to giving away 95 percent of his wealth and now heads the biggest philanthropic foundation in the world. (Gates gives $1,000,000,000 every twelve months or roughly $83,333,333.34 every thirty days!)

He says Gates puts his money as well as his intellect behind his giving. He doesn’t go to charity auctions, he does the hard yards in giving and that comes from his upbringing, where his parents were socially responsible and involved, and where giving was part of the fabric of life.

Petre says Gates never talked about his philanthropic activities while he was growing up and doesn’t big note himself now.

Daniel Petre set up the Petre Foundation 18 months ago, and initially its aim is channelling funds into two areas; child health and breast cancer.

David Zerman from the Fundraising Institute of Australia describes Daniel Petre as a brave man for espousing his tactics to embarrass the rich!

Zerman says he’d love to speak to Petre about channelling his ideas into an education program for our schools to create a generational change towards giving.

He says fundraising is about a long-term relationship with the donor and not just the quick response to a one off situation.

‘Some people can be turned off by an aggressive fundraising approach.’

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