With little fanfaire, Bubba Watson recently donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross for Japanese quake and tsunami relief efforts. K.J. Choi gave $100,000—an act of charity that apparently is routine for him: according to the article, from his first victory on the PGA Tour, Choi had given a percentage of his winning check to the church he attended in the city that week. The PGA Tour, of course, also benefits numerous charities each week, but I count individual giving as more motivating than corporate.
Watson’s giving apparently was inspired by a conversation he had with Ryuji Imada, who had pledged $1,000 for every birdie, and then didn’t get a single birdie in the first round.
I think it must be nice to have the financial wherewithall as an individual to be able to donate $50,000—or $100,000—to worthy causes. My own donations generally are in the $10 to $20 range. In spite of what you may have heard, teachers don’t make a lot of money. And neither do part-time golf bloggers.
Still, I like to occasionally daydream about what I would do if I hit the lottery, such as the recent $200 million Megamillions (of course, I’d have to actually play to have a chance to win). That’d leave me with some $100 million after taxes. Setting aside the $10 million or so that I’d want to live the rest of my life in comfort, I’d organize a foundation and spend the rest of my working career giving the money away. I’d set up an endowment for the music program in my church, and a similar one for the local Boy Scout Council. And after that, I’d spend my time sorting through applications, giving money to people and organizations who had solid, productive, economically sound plans for its use. I’ve always been inspired by the microcredit movement, and might move in that direction. That movement is aimed primarily at the third world, but I think a similar thing would work here in the US, albeit with more seed money.
But I’ll never win the lottery. So in a more realistic vein, I’m starting to think about ways that I can use the popularity of GolfBlogger.Com to do some good. I really can’t offer anyone money or things, but I’ll certainly pass on (and always have) information about worthy charity efforts. Perhaps I should set up a section of the site where people can add their own charity events to a calendar or somesuch.