Advice to Billionaires

Two weeks before Mark Zuckerberg was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” The Mercury News reported on Zuckerberg’s intention to donate much of his wealth to charity. I’d like to offer the following suggestions to Mark, and to any other billionaires looking for charity investment ideas.

First, provide for the hiring of a school nurse at every public school in the Bay Area. Among other needs, school nurses can administer insulin shots to kids living with type-one diabetes. School nurses are also in a “front-line"position to help monitor kids’ mental health.

Second, provide funding for one-on-one tutorial services for kids on the Autism spectrum. Our educational system is woefully unequipped to meet the needs of kids (and families) dealing with this growing epidemic. Autism is this generation’s polio. It will take an incredible amount of money and other resources to meet the challenge. Currently, only the wealthiest among us are able to provide for the care necessary to “mainstream” some of these children.

Finally, provide for zero-interest college loans to kids who have been through the foster care system. Many of these young adults lose their sources of funding and support as they reach the age of 18.


  1. All are worthy projects that would arguably improve the lot of afflicted or disadvantaged individuals.

    But it seems to me that there must be ways to leverage a billion dollars so that instead of providing direct aid to individuals, the knowledge and culture of value creation and personal altruism are more widely dispersed.

    In other word, why not encourage Bill Gates and Warren Buffet spend their billions to create more Bill Gateses’ and Warren Buffets who know how to create value, create jobs, and spread around the knowledge and culture of HOW to create valuble prodcts, services, and skills that society values enough to pay for?

    Giving money away helps some number of recipients.  Giving away the secrets and practical knowledge of how to make money for OTHER PEOPLE TO GIVE AWAY ultimately helps many more recipients.

  2. Some of these billionaires (Gates & Buffett come to mind) have been busy complaining that they’re not taxed enough. So grant them their wish. Take away most of their disposable income just like happens to the rest of us. Take away their choices and their power to achieve something useful with their riches. Let them hand it over to some government bureaucrats so they can give it away to a bunch of their government bureaucrat buddies. Maybe if you’re lucky, Pete, 1 or 2 percent of their money might actually make it down to the causes that you champion.

  3. Pete, I am a school nurse,  so naturally I like your ideas.  Even if those wishing to fund projects don’t think that’s something they want to do with their money,  it is good for others to realize the benefit of nurses in our schools.  We are much more than band-aid pushers.  We oversee the immunization records of our students,  participate in writing individualized health plans for students with health problems, emergency care plans for students who require rescue medications at school,  train personnel in those rescue meds’ usage, (which could make a life-or-death difference when a child is having an anaphylactic reaction to a food or an insect sting!), oversee the giving of medications, including insulin, communicate with parents when problems needing medical attention are found,  advocate for children who need services they can’t afford,  advocate for a child injured by abuse, teach young mothers, and the list could go on. There is never a dull moment, and I love serving the staff and students.

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