A couple of days ago I wrote about how some of America's very richest individuals weren't very charitable. and, in particular, I pointed out the Walton family of Bentonville, Arkansas - the Walmart Waltons - as being individuals who give almost nothing to charity. Quite a bit of what the family does donate goes to the Walton Family Foundation, an organization that seems to be as much about setting conservative policy as it is being charitable. One of the foundation's primary efforts, as an example, is to foster the idea of school choice, an activity seen by some as an effort to sabotage free public education.
The Waltons have also set up a series of trusts for ostensibly charitable purposes, but one of the primary purposes of the trusts seems to be the avoidance of gift and estate taxes. Money left over in these trusts at a certain point goes back to the heirs of the givers - tax free.
So apparently there is charity, and then there is charity.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple is, as I understand it, not a billionaire - but his wealth is estimated in the high hundreds of millions - nothing to be sneezed at! Mr. Cook, a single man in his fifties who also happens to be gay, has a history of being charitable with his assets. He recently disclosed plans for the distribution of his considerable wealth after he dies. Mr. Cook intends to set enough money aside for his young nephew to have a college education, and the rest of his fortune, every darned penny, will go to charity.
Something tells me that when Mr. Cook dies and goes to meet his maker, he will stroll past a whole line of Waltons and Kochs who are standing outside the Pearly Gates trying to figure out how to get their camels to pass through the eyes of needles! Something also tells me that the gates of heaven will swing wide open for Mr. Cook, gay or not!
Tim Cook, I have no idea as to your religious beliefs, but you, sir, are the epitome of a fine Christian! Thank you for your humanity.