March 25, 2010; Bloomberg.com | He’s not talking about it publicly, but from his foundation’s tax filings a picture is emerging of the personal charitable giving of Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankenfein, who once described investment banking as “doing God’s work.”
From studying publicly available tax filings, the Bloomberg news service reports that the Lloyd & Laura Blankfein Foundation, which the banking executive runs with his wife Laura Jacobs, averaged gifts totaling $1.3 million a year between 2000 to January 2009. During the same period, including when the investment firm was publicly pilloried for what some said was reckless trading that contributed to the economic meltdown, Blankfein received $240 million in salary, bonus and stock awards.
Tax records only show Blankfein’s giving through his foundation, which add up to $11.3 million for the past decade, or about 5 percent of his compensation. Bloomberg said it was unable to find out whether he gave more because multiple requests to interview the Goldman Sachs head were declined.
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Foundation recipients include the Robin Hood Foundation, the UJA Foundation of New York, and several other schools, medical organizations and cultural groups.
Recalling Blankfein’s previous “God’s work” comment, it is ironic the details about his giving appear the same week as a Forbes story about a British entrepreneur who is planning to donate more than half of his $1.1 billion fortune to make good on a 50-year-old pact with God. At the start of his career, the entrepreneur told God if he’d help him become a business success, he’d give away at least half his money.—Bruce Trachtenberg