The names of prominent South Florida philanthropists are hung on buildings, printed in program notes and regularly thanked at cultural gatherings -- names you probably recognize: Arsht, Knight, Frost.
Unfortunately, many South Floridians are not in a position to give away thousands of dollars to a cause they believe in. But a new course at Florida International University is giving a few students a taste of what it’s like – the accolades and the work that comes from charitable giving.
When I met Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim six years ago, he was the world’s richest man.
Slim, however, wasn’t the world’s most generous giver. He was called the Latin American Scrooge because he’d steered such a relatively small share of his then $65 billion fortune to philanthropic causes. In our interview at his Mexico City office, he said he was correcting that – and he read a passage from “The Prophet” by the Christian philosopher Kahlil Gibran:
“Give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.”
What do the Parks foundation of Miami Dade, The Awesome Foundation and the Wounded Worriers of South Florida all have in common? They were participants in the third annual PhilanthroFest held this weekend on Miami-Dade College’s Wolfson Campus in Downtown Miami.
People slathered on sunscreen, milled around the dozens of Little white tents and talked community engagement.
A sweeping charities reform package is breezing through the Florida Legislature despite earlier concerns that legitimate philanthropies might be harmed by new rules.
The House bill received unanimous support in three committees and is now ready for a vote on the floor. The Senate bill has one more committee, and members who had been worried about reputable charities now say their issues have been addressed.
Giving for educational purposes is a popular choice. It's second only to religious donations. According to Giving USA, Americans donated $41.3 billion to educational institutions in 2012. That is a 7-percent increase from the previous year.
May Jean Wolff and her husband Lou have been part of the Fort Lauderdale community since the 1950s. As Lou's career as an architect flourished, the two wanted to give back. They started by donating money for scholarships to Broward College.
Wednesday is Give Miami Day. It was established last year by the Miami Foundation to encourage donations to local non-profits. Their idea is to establish a culture of giving in Miami. But what counts as charitable giving?
As you consider whether or how you will participate in Give Miami Day, try your hand at this quiz to see if you can pick out what's philanthropy and what isn't.
ANSWER CHOICES: A. Philanthropy B. Charity C. Neither D. Both philanthropy and charity
Wednesday is the second annual Give Miami Day. It's an effort by The Miami Foundation to focus charitable giving for local organizations. Miami and South Florida have a history of giving, though our relatively young metropolis may lack the generational giving enjoyed by older, more established areas.
Sanford Ziff, Jorge Perez and the Knight Foundation's Alberto Ibarguen are three who are working to change that.