BUFFET’S GIFT: STARTING A NEW PAGE IN THE HISTORY



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BUFFET’S GIFT: STARTING A NEW PAGE IN THE HISTORY



OF GIVING TO CHARITY

Americans gave an estimated two hundred sixty thousand million dollars to charity last year. That was an increase of six percent over two thousand four. The Giving USA Foundation says about half the increase resulted from giving after natural disasters. Hurricane Katrina and other severe storms hit the Gulf Coast. There was the earthquake in Pakistan, and the effects of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

The United States has more than one million philanthropic organizations, including churches and other religious groups. Individual giving is the single biggest way American charities get money. More than three-fourths of their money last year came from individuals. But no one has ever given more than Warren Buffett is about to give. The seventy-five-year-old investor is worth an estimated forty-four thousand million dollars. This week he announced he will give most of that away. The majority is to go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve health and education around the world. In all, five organizations will receive shares in his Berkshire Hathaway holding company in Nebraska. The Chronicle of Philanthropy calls Mister Buffett's gift "the largest in philanthropic history." The newspaper says Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, held the record until now.

The word philanthropy comes from Greek and Latin. It means a love of humankind, especially as shown through an act like giving to charity. One early American philanthropist was Benjamin Franklin. When he died in seventeen ninety, he left some of his wealth to the cities of Philadelphia and Boston. Another was Andrew Carnegie. The Carnegie Steel Company made him the world’s richest man. But in the early nineteen hundreds he gave away most of his money. He gave money to build more than two thousand public libraries. He started organizations to further scientific research and other knowledge and to support international peace.

Today, American philanthropists include the Hungarian-born George Soros. His Open Society Institute supports activities in more than fifty countries. But he is also known for his activism in American politics. Another modern-day philanthropist is the media personality Oprah Winfrey. Her Oprah’s Angel Network supports non-profit groups.

Still another is Larry Ellison, chief of the software company Oracle. He was in the news this week - not for giving, but for taking back an offer. Mister Ellison had offered one hundred fifteen million dollars to Harvard University to create a global health foundation. He has now cancelled the gift after the resignation of Harvard President Larry Summers. Reports say he is expected to make another offer in the near future.

 

8. There are a lot of charity funds in capitalistic society. What are their main goals and functions within the frameworks of business? Hope the following broadcast will help you to answer these questions. Read and translate the text and be ready to discuss it from the positions of business and linguistics:

 

THE RISE OF FOUNDATIONS

The United States has about seventy thousand foundations for charitable giving. They are required to give away at least five percent of their total holdings each year. Most foundations are formed by wealthy individuals. People who put their wealth into foundations can become known for their social good works. At the same time, gifts to charity can bring tax savings. Fifty percent of the value of a gift to a public charity can be used to reduce taxes. For private foundations, that percentage is smaller – thirty percent - but still a lot.

Not surprisingly, strong foundation growth takes place during strong economic growth. For example, foundations grew quickly during the nineteen forties and fifties. A growing economy and changes in tax laws also led to sharp growth during the eighties. The economic expansion of the middle and late nineties resulted in record foundation growth. In two thousand, as the stock market reached its highest level, so did the number of new foundations. More than six thousand that year alone.

Researcher Steven Lawrence says foundation growth has shown surprising staying power since then, even as economic growth slowed. He says new foundations continued to appear at a rate of about two percent in two thousand four. Mister Lawrence is the top researcher at a group that studies such things, the Foundation Center.

But foundations can also run out of money and close. This happens at an average rate of one percent a year. Many of the rules that govern foundations come from the Tax Reform Act of nineteen sixty-nine. Congress established a number of differences between public charities and private foundations. The new law defined all individual, corporate and operating foundations as private. That meant greater restrictions and different financial reporting rules than for community foundations. At the time, some people thought the changes in the law would mean the end of private foundations. The number of public charities grew in the nineteen seventies. In some years, the holdings of private foundations even shrunk. Today public charities represent just one percent of all foundations. But they are responsible for almost one-tenth of all foundation giving.

 

9. What are the other responsibilities to the general public that successful business must meet? Explain the nature of ethical and social responsibilities of business. Hope the following Company’s Statement will help you to understand this problem better. Read and translate the text and be ready to discuss it from the positions of business and linguistics:

 



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