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$10 Club in the News

We can all be philanthropists

By Adam M Roberts
Published: July 14, 2007

From Mr Adam M. Roberts.

Sir, Bill Clinton is quite correct that "we have to maximise private charity and private giving" (report, July 2), and we should applaud his remarkable effort to promote global philanthropy. And as your New Philanthropy section shows, global leaders and well-endowed corporate leaders are investing appropriately in alleviating poverty.

However, we must never assume someone else will solve the problems facing those millions of people without safe water or electricity, or who earn less than a dollar a day. Each of us can be a philanthropist with small personal sacrifices. Get two fewer gourmet coffees each month; buy a $20 bottle of wine with dinner instead of one costing $30.

In return, we can put school uniforms on children needing an education, start microfinance programmes, ensure that families in at-risk areas have mosquito nets, bring safe drinking water to those without, and provide life-saving medicines to the most desperate people on earth.

It's easy to turn away and expect governments, corporations and high-profile figures to take all the responsibility for poverty alleviation. But it is our responsibility, too. The question is not can we afford to say yes; but can we afford to say no?

Adam M. Roberts,
President and Founder,
The $10 Club,
Washington, DC 20007, US

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

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