The Ethical Rainmaker
Billionaires, DAFs, and the Changing Face of Philanthropy w Teddy Schleifer of Vox's Recode
Billionaires in America are changing the landscape of philanthropy. Journalist Teddy Schleifer of Vox’s Recode Daily podcast, joins Michelle to talk about what Billionaires are doing with their money, the debate about Donor Advised Funds, and large scale philanthropy. “One thing society might not appreciate is how much those entities [large East Coast Foundations] are going to seem like small potatoes. The amount of money being made in Silicon Valley and is theoretically going to be deployed to the charitable sector...is enormous.”
Teddy Schleifer is a journalist for Vox’s recode, covering what billionaires in the Silicon Valley are doing with their money.
- Teddy works for Vox as a journalist and hosts the podcast Recode Daily
- He’s active on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/teddyschleifer
- He says his reason for covering billionaires =
“just as reporters cover poverty in America, reporters must also cover and uncover wealth in America - offering the scrutiny that informs essential debates about income inequality, money in politics, and the role of private philanthropy. If we don’t have a common set of facts about how the wealthiest people in society spend their money or live their lives, then we are just shooting in the dark - arguing based on press releases, unfounded suspicions and our set-in-stone prior beliefs.”
- Teddy would love to hear from you with hot tips about badly behaved foundations or billionaires! Or anything else alarming in philanthropy. Hit him up.
- During the pandemic, the number of billionaires spiked by 30%. Around the time of this podcast recording in Spring 2021, there is a record high of 2,755 billionaires. 86% of those billionaires are richer than they were a year ago.
- We discussed the relative wealth of MacKenzie Scott who has given $5.8B (the single largest gift in the history of the US), but still gained in wealth in 2020.
- DAFs: As Teddy explains, a Donor Advised Fund, essentially serves as a place to set money aside for charity, “and the money then goes to charity later. It could be much later.” (it could also be never and keep power in the hands of family members.) There is over $140B sitting in Donor Advised Funds in the US.
- Of the billionaires he covers, he recently spoke with who was relatively surprised to see how he could influence the presidential election with his donations
- This is where Silicon Valley is.
- Larry Page, is listed as one of the billionaires ($80-$100B Net Worth in a given day) that places the minimum 5% payout from his foundation, into a DAF, literally with no benefit to society at this time. He’s the worst case scenario. He’s a cofounder of Google.
- Teddy warns us that we have very little information about what billionaires are doing with their money, and that this lack of information is getting even worse!
- Effective Altruist Movement
- Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook “...is probably the most prominent billionaire philanthropist in effective altruism, and he's in his thirties, but he has a clear point of view on what he wants to do with the money and is working on it.”
- Here is the interview with young Billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried who talks about influencing the Biden election
- Stephanie Ellis-Smith of Philanthropy NW/The Giving Practice in Seattle, was listed as a philanthropy consultant who talks about “analysis paralysis”
- Jack Dorsey has a new charitable effort called Start Small, which is taking a lot of criticism because of its gifts to other celebrities.
- What Americans Really Think About Billionaires During The Pandemic is the Data for Progress poll Teddy mentions
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The Ethical Rainmaker is produced in Seattle, Washington by Kasmira Hall, and Isaac Kaplan-Woolner, and socials by Rachelle Pierce. Michelle Shireen Muri is the executive producer and this pod is sponsored by Freedom Conspiracy.
Transcript coming soon!