Thursday, December 21, 2006

Investing in Charity

There was this time, however, when I did actually give some money to a young woman carrying a baby in one hand. But before you get me wrong here, let me make it clear that my generosity was not prompted by the presence of the child. It had more to do with the (presumably de-fanged) cobra she held in the other hand.

Common as they may be in this part of the world, cobra carrying alms seekers are not only people you need to be wary of. For a more practical list of warning signs read this article in the Motley Fool. There are some interesting links there to more articles on 'Foolanthropy'. With the two richest men on the planet giving away almost all their wealth, the idea of charity as an investment is definitely in.

The association between charity and investment is not new though. Tradition has it that the apostle St.Thomas, an architect by profession, was commissioned by King Gondophares to build a palace. The apostle instead gave away all the money to the poor and was promptly imprisoned for it by an angry king. But the apostle was soon released when the king's deceased brother appeared in a dream and described the wonderful palace that had been built for them in paradise.

A palace in paradise or a world free from hunger, achieving the objectives of an investment in charity requires that it be accorded the same seriousness as any other investment.

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