In the recent article “How Andrew Carnegie set the stage for Bill Gates to give away his fortune, altering philanthropy forever,” director of GSPIA’s Philanthropy Forum Kathleen Buechel spoke with Lisa Stiffler of GeeKWire about the future of philanthropy.
In the article, Stiffler compares and contrasts Andrew Carnegie, who left a legacy of philanthropy and set a new precedence for titans of industry with Microsoft founder Bill Gates. According to Buechel, Carnegie gained industry success by “systemizing business” and utilizing data and information to increase efficiency. He applied this same systematic rigor in his approach to philanthropy. Like Carnegie, Bill Gates also pledged to give away a large portion of his wealth through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to address the root of humanitarian challenges. So what happens “when you have wealth that is as big as a small country’s economy? Should you be allowed to influence things that much without democracy?”
Buechel commented that Carnegie's “scientific philanthropy went after the problems at their root cause.” This is demonstrated by his choice to fund libraries and universities. Carnegie hoped through constructing libraries and education facilities, he would increase people’s access to education and therefore empower youth in his community. A notable strategy to Carnegie's charity is that he gave the responsibility of book selection and upkeep to the community. This model set raised the bar for how foundations, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, give today and encouraged many philanthropies to use this systems model approach. Read article.