Monday, November 5th, 2012
George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars who sold his storied franchise to The Walt Disney Company for $4 billion last week, has announced he will donate most of the money to charity. The gift will make him one of the most generous givers in the world, according to Forbes.com:
“I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education,” Lucas wrote in his pledge letter. “It is the key to the survival of the human race. We have to plan for our collective future — and the first step begins with the social, emotional, and intellectual tools we provide to our children. As humans, our greatest tool for survival is our ability to think and to adapt — as educators, storytellers, and communicators our responsibility is to continue to do so.”
Lucas founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation and the website Edutopia to reform and improve K-12 education. The foundation emphasizes hands-on, project-based learning over plodding devotion to standardized tests and traditional textbooks. It highlights innovative teaching efforts that are already working in classrooms. You can read more about Lucas’ efforts in a Q&A with Forbes’ Luisa Kroll.
While Lucas may choose to donate the billions he made from selling Lucasfilm to a broader range of efforts, it is likely that a large portion will be distributed to this cause. And when Lucas does make that donation official, he will have placed himself into rarified company among philanthropists. Only a select few billionaires will have given away as much as he plans to. While his $4 billion won’t get him as far as [Bill] Gates or [Warren] Buffett, who have donated more than $45 billion combined, Lucas is following their example and should reach the next tier of biggest givers.
Image: George Lucas, via cinemafestival / Shutterstock.com
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Monday, July 11th, 2011
A British charity called To Hatch has garnered much media attention this week for its lottery-style contest in which the prize is a free cycle of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), the procedure that helps many women with fertility problems become pregnant. The prize has a value of £25,000 (around $40,000) and would cover a single cycle of IVF, or other procedures the winners might require, such as surrogacy, donor eggs or sperm, or artificial insemination, up to the value of the prize amount. Only residents of Great Britain are eligible to participate.
The charity is selling £20 (about $32) raffle tickets through its website, under a license agreement granted by the country’s Gambling Commission. The contest is open to singles, as well as straight and gay couples. Identity verification, fertility counseling, and medical qualifications (including age) will be required of the winner, the charity said on a FAQ page of its website. The contest launches July 30, and a winner will be chosen each month.
Some ethics groups expressed dismay at the contest. Reuters reported:
Britain’s fertility regulator, The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said using IVF as a prize was “wrong and entirely inappropriate.”
“It trivializes what is for many people a central part of their lives,” it added in a statement.
Josephine Quintavalle, from the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said “creation of human life should not be reduced to a public lottery … this demeans the whole nature of human reproduction.”
The charity responded that it welcomes the debate but stands behind its decision to offer hope to the estimated 1 in 7 British couples that experience infertility. “We understand that there will be skepticism especially when this is a ground breaking global premiere…. We are extremely thankful that we have opened the debate on infertility globally and to highlight that infertility itself is a medical condition,” To Hatch’s website states.
(image via: http://to-hatch.co.uk)
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