A blog by Grant Montgomery, co-founder of a 501c3 that provides emergency services and sustained development for communities, families and children on 5 continents. Articles and commentary on Philanthropy, Global Aid and Development.
Every morning in front of the Devaraj Urs public housing apartment blocks on the outskirts of the city of Tumakuru, India, a swarm of children pours into the street. They are not going to school.
Instead of backpacks or books, each child carries a filthy plastic sack. These children, from 6 to 14 years old, have been sent by their parents to rummage through garbage dumps littered with broken glass and concrete shards in search of recyclable plastic.
In many parts of the developing world, school closures put children on the streets. Families are desperate for money. Children are an easy source of cheap labor.
While the United States and other developed countries debate the effectiveness of online schooling, hundreds of millions of children in poorer countries lack computers or the internet and have no schooling at all.
United Nations officials estimate that at least 24 million children will drop out and that millions could be sucked into work.
A lot of people look up to Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. But who do Buffett and Gates look up to?
That would be Chuck Feeney. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s by design. Feeney is a multi-billionaire — actually, make that a former multi-billionaire. He co-founded a chain of duty-free shops (the kind you see in airports), and later made it his life’s mission to donate every cent he’d ever made to charity.
Having made billions, his goal was to die broke. He did it all very quietly for years — even anonymously, trying not to draw attention to himself. His quest eventually became known, however, and last week, Feeney reached his goal: having given away a total of $8 billion — virtually his entire fortune — at the age of 89. “To those wondering about giving while living: Try it. You’ll like it.” Feeney said, during the meeting when he signed the papers to dissolve his charitable foundation, since it no longer has any assets.
For Buffett and Gates, a milestone date of May 5, 2009, explains their awe and reverence for Feeney: At a dinner at Rockefeller University in New York, Feeney was there, along with Oprah Winfrey, then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg, David Rockefeller (the host), and about a dozen other billionaires. It was out of that dinner meeting that Buffett and Gates teamed up to announce the Giving Pledge, convincing 210 other billionaires (so far) to commit to give away at least half their net worth. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett credit Chuck Feeney as a major inspiration for both the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Giving Pledge.
Feeney and his wife reportedly live in a fairly modest, rented apartment in San Francisco. After giving away most of his fortune, Feeney reportedly has a remaining net worth of about $2 million. That would mean he held on to about .025 percent of his net worth, just to keep himself and his wife comfortable in their Golden Years.
Pope Francis urged world leaders Friday to use the coronavirus emergency as an opportunity to reform the injustices of the global economy and the “perverse logic” of the nuclear deterrence doctrine, warning that increased isolationist responses to problems “must not prevail.”
Francis laid out his appeal for greater involvement and influence of the United Nations in protecting the poor, migrants and the environment in a videotaped speech Friday to the U.N. General Assembly, held mostly virtually this year because of the pandemic.
Francis said the world has a choice to make as it emerges from the COVID-19 crisis and addresses the grave economic impact it has had on the planet’s most vulnerable: greater solidarity, dialogue and multilateralism, or self-retreat into greater nationalism, individualism and elitism.
“The pandemic has shown us that we cannot live without one another, or worse still, pitted against one another,” he said. “This is why, at this critical juncture, it is our duty to rethink the future of our common home and our common project.”
Crisis-weary residents of the Greek island of Lesbos and the thousands of migrants stranded there after this week’s refugee centre fire are united by one thing—they all want to see the migrants moved off the island.
Lesbos and other islands off the Turkish coast have been among the main entry points for migrants into Europe for years, peaking in 2015-16 when around a million people arrived in a seemingly endless stream of small boats. The overflowing camp that burned held more than 12,000 migrants—four times the numbers it was supposed to—forcing thousands to live in squalor and putting a strain on both its occupants and residents in nearby areas who have mounted a series of protests this year demanding the centre be shut down.
But with the European Union unable to reach agreement between countries like Greece and Italy, which want the bloc to share the burden and others refusing to take in refugees, for the moment Lesbos’ 86,000 islanders and migrants remain unwillingly together.
Thousands of migrants remained stranded without shelter on the island of Lesbos, sleeping on streets or in fields near Greece’s largest refugee camp after a devastating fire burned the facility to the ground. The Moria camp, long notorious for poor living conditions, had hosted more than 12,000 migrants, four times its stated capacity.
The Greek government said it had secured thousands of tents to provide temporary shelter for the migrants. But Athens’s plans face stiff resistance from local authorities and residents who fear the temporary shelters will turn into another permanent migrant camp.
“Moria is a monstrosity,” Dimitris Koursoubas, a senior official responsible for migration in the northern Aegean islands, told Reuters. “We want all the migrants out, for national reasons. Moria is over.”