Quote of the day – Forbes on philanthropy

money.jpgI heartily endorse this perspective on philanthropy made by Forbes back in 1917.  They re-ran it as part of a 90th anniversary issue.

Too few millionaires who aspire to win fame as philanthropists begin at home, among their own workers.  To grind employees and then donate a million dollars to perpetuate his name is not a particularly laudable record for any man to live or to leave behind him.  Of course, it is more spectacular, it makes more of a splash to do the grandiose act in sight of all men, where it will be read of and talked of.  But it is rather a pitiable form of philanthropy.  Individuals like George Eastman and John N. Patterson, both employing thousands of men, who take deep personal interest in the happiness of their workers and spend money freely in furtherance of it, will by and by come into their own.

I might add that gaining your money via dishonest competition would fall into the same category. 

Treating employees right (and everyone else, for that matter) isn’t a barrier to long-term success, it is a catalyst.

9 thoughts on “Quote of the day – Forbes on philanthropy”

  1. Great find! Absolutely true.

    I’ve often puzzled over why some of today’s companies and corporations and their stockholders put so much pressure on the bottom line and forget that the happiness and prosperity of the employee is the greatest measure of long-term success. I’ve seen a company once thriving with great customer service and employee satisfaction be sold to another corporation and driven into the ground by reckless managers and corporate pressure to raise stock value while never once acknowledging the effort of the employees. It is a sad thing to watch a good company die.


  2. very good quote. I would also apply that to the home… where some people give so much of time and energy to ministry and neglect their home… i think the same principle applies. If the house is our of order, what matters what you do in the sight of many?

    You should check out my uncles leadership blog. I’m afraid to try to link in this body but it is on my sidebar under BUILT TO LEAD. He discusses a lot of these type of principles. He usually posts once a week.


  3. So true… I wish boss would read that. 🙂

    I heard someone saying the other day at work, in same vein, that if you fire the jerk who works really hard and accounts for forty percent of your productivity, your overall productivity will go up, because of the environment being more pleasant, so everyone will work harder. Same idea.


  4. “Now if only he weren’t a rabid ragin anti-semite.”

    Huh? I assume that B.C. Forbes (long deceased) wrote that, but it could have been someone else. I’ve been reading Forbes for over 20 yrs. If one of them is anti-semetic they do a good job of disguising it.

    MZ – great point about the home! What kind of Christians are we if we don’t take care of that first? I’ll check out your Uncle’s link.


  5. Neil,

    Given your appreciation for this quote, I imagine you also admire Milton Hershey. If you don’t know a lot about him, you will want to find out. He is the kind of CEO we need today!

    Although some of his ideas were kind of nutty…so I doubt he would survive in this investment climate. We do, after all, do a lot to choose the brigands who run the companies we wish were run better.


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