“…but the greatest of these is Charity.”

I’m sure you’re familiar with the Bible verse “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”  (1 Corinthians 13:13 in the King James Version)

I don’t know what you think of Bill Gates, but personally I’m in awe of his charitable work.  (BTW, check out his Facebook page. As of this writing, he has 14, 463,459 likes.)

For anyone (like me) with delusions of grandeur, what can we do to get the same warm & fuzzies he must get, only with an infinitesimally smaller budget?  Here are a couple of suggestions  from my personal experience —

— For the long term, some investment companies offer charitible giving accounts.  The one I’m most familiar with is Fidelity Charitable, “an independent public charity, established in 1991 with the mission to further the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving simple and effective.”  Open an account, meet the required minimum giving each year but add a bit more, and with some astute investing watch your own personal charitable fund grow.  Someday you will be able to make a major difference.  I like to think of it as planting an acorn.  (http://www.fidelitycharitable.org/)

— In the short term, maybe you’d like to make a wider mark than the usual local charities.  Want to help build a health clinic in Kenya or send development toys to a Chinese orphanage?  There is a website called Universal Giving (http://www.universalgiving.org/) that can be your portal.

And now the Bad News — when giving money away, it always pays to do your homework. I’m sure Bill has the staff to conduct complete evaluations.  But for the rest of us, may I suggest an organization like the BBB Wise Giving Alliance?   Visit them at www.give.org.  They may not have a report on that Chinese orphanage, but they can be an eye-opener for many of those charitable requests we all get.

The world will be better for it.

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