13 December 2010

Helping others when we earn more than we need

BBC News has reported about Dr Toby Ord, who has given away more than a third of his income to charity
Toby Ord is a university researcher earning not much more than the average salary. So why is he giving away £1m over his lifetime to help address global poverty? When Facebook founder and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg pledged to give away most of his wealth during his lifetime, some British commentators bemoaned the lack of philanthropy on this side of the Atlantic.

But an academic at Oxford University is living off little more than £300 a month in an act of charity-giving that is arguably more impressive than those of Zuckerberg, Gates, Buffett and co.

Toby Ord, 31, has in the past year given more than a third of his earnings, £10,000, to charities working in the poorest countries. He also gave away £15,000 of savings, as the start of his pledge to give away £1m over his lifetime.

And he's started a campaign to recruit, Bill Gates-style, other people to give up at least 10% of their lifetime's earnings in the same way. A year on, 64 people have joined his movement Giving What We Can and pledged £14m.

Given his personal sacrifice, it's difficult not to feel rather intrigued about the kind of lifestyle he can maintain while so much of his earnings is going elsewhere.
Read more. Dr Ord still manages a comfortable lifestyle while helping others.

Giving up luxuries to save lives is a great philosophy. Perhaps earning more money than is needed and acquiring wealth for the sake of it, are not what life is about.

No comments: