Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Trends in giving

Trends in giving: "Trends in giving

(Original publication: December 25, 2005)

It has become traditional at this time of year to bemoan the materialism that greets both Christmas, the day that for Christians marks the birth of Jesus Christ, and, increasingly, Hanukkah, the Jewish celebration of lights. This year, the two happen to coincide, heightening attention to wasteful extravagance — witness the uptick in gift-giving of 'personal services,' such as face-lifts for friends and a day-in-the-country for canines.

But that's only one side of the story. 2005 should first be remembered as proof that giving unto others hasn't given up the ghost to Christmas Past.

Time magazine's 'Persons of the Year'' for 2005 are three people committed to public health and poverty relief in the world. Microsoft founder Bill Gates and wife Melinda Gates — whose foundation, with its $29 billion endowment, is the world's richest charity — were honored for giving astronomical amounts of money to fight AIDS and malaria in poor regions, especially in Africa.

The third in the honored trio is Bono, lead singer of the Irish band U2. In July, Bono persuaded world leaders at the G-8 summit to double aid to Africa to $50 billion a year by 2010 and erase the debt of"

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