Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Google.org - the philanthropic arm of Google - the 1% joke

Google.org just came out, a bunch of sites have covered this. I find it interesting given the insane amount of wealth Google has managed to generate that so little has gone into philanthropy. To date they clain $33M has been donated but Google is only putting in 1% of the equity from last year's IPO and 1% of it annual profits. 1% ?!?! Are you kidding me.
Now granted the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been around for a few more years but they have given out in excess of $8B (yeah, that's a B) to date and this is the personal foundation of a Microsoft founder, not the company. Microsoft through their Microsoft Community Affairs has donated $47M in cash and $363M in software to nonprofits organizations around the world just last year.
I don't expect Google to start donating at the rate of a big established firm like Microsoft but honestly most corporations donate more then 1% to deserving causes. Now if only I could get my company to believe in some of that!
- Ed

2 comments:

Rob Robason said...

I think you're being unfair to Google. For a publicly held company with responsibilities to shareholders, 1% is a significant number. I applaud Google's civic mindedness.

As far as Gates and Microsoft are concerned:
a) Gates' personal contributions are not coming out of the pockets of shareholders, so while I admire his generosity, you're comparing apples and oranges.
b) Microsoft's cash donation seems paultry to me, given it's annual revenue, especially compared to Googles'. The software donation looks valuable, but it's only market value - not the cost to MS - and pales in comparison to the donation of cash, which relief agencies such as the Red Cross can leverage far more effectively and flexibly to respond to specific circumstances of a disaster.

Howfunky said...

I think it is wonderful that Google is setting this up, no issue there.

In regards to Microsoft's cash donations, those are only for that one program. They have others as well along with internal company employee drives. Plus, the arguement that software donations in lieu of cash pale in comparision to cash might be legit except almost every one of those organizations utilizes MS software every day to perform their operations so having that software at almost no cost is a huge benefit. Even at a 10% value rating you are dealing with a bigger number then what Google is doing.
Any company that is giving part of their earning to charities is cool in my book. I'm just saying that the press Google is getting from this relative to what other companies and foundations are doing (David and Lucile Packard Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and lots of others) might be out of line.
- Ed