Nonprofit Newswire | Trickle Up Philanthropy

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July 24, 2010; Source: Singapore Business Times | When the nation found itself lacking boats and machines that could skim the BP oil off the waters of the Gulf Coast, boats and machines that other countries possessed and offered, it might have struck some odd that the United States actually needed other nations to help us in times of need.

But it had already happened here in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when philanthropic entities in other countries contributed to the region’s recovery and redevelopment efforts and international NGOs came to New Orleans to perform as well if not better than some national indigenous disaster relief nonprofits.

According to the Business Times, the appearance of millionaires and billionaires in other nations is leading to the creation of non-U.S. foundations that might lead to a “reverse philanthropy with the vibrant East and South sending help to the developed countries.”

The wealthiest man in Mexico, Carlos Slim, has pledged $6 billion to his three foundations, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing has dedicated one third of his estimated $18.8 billion wealth to his foundation, a Chinese real estate developer has dedicated $1.2 billion to his foundation, an Indian software entrepreneur started a foundation and is now creating a university, and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal counts donations of $2.4 billion over the past 30 years.

Some reverse giving has already begun:  Hong Kong’s Gordon Wu has given $118 million to Princeton University and Beijing’s Zhang Lei gave Yale $8,888,888.  According to this article, much more reverse philanthropy is in the offing.—Rick Cohen