Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Goldman's Charity Bonus

The word on Wall Street is that Goldman Sachs -- to soften criticism over the size of its bonuses this year -- is thinking about expanding a program that would require its executives and top managers to give a set percentage of their earnings to charity.

Goldman is expected to report later this month a record profit of more than $12 billion for 2009, up from $11.7 billion in 2007. According to The New York Times, the details over the charity requirement are still under discussion, but it would probably mean that Goldman's top guns would be required to give hundreds of millions of dollars to charity. It was not immediately clear whether a new department would need to be created to administer the mandated giving.

In recent days, some in the giving sector have suggested the following: that any talk of mandatory charity is "a little creepy" (Daniel Indiviglio in The Atlantic); that giving to good causes "doesn't rack up karma points if you didn't think to do it yourself" (GOOD's Morgan Clendaniel), and that Goldman might consider using some of its enormous profits, instead, to establish some type of new social enterprise or next-phase microfinancing arm to move from a mindset of charity to one of social innovation (yours truly).

What do you think? Should there be a charity requirement? If not, why not? And rather than contribute millions to various charities, might Goldman use that money in another way to help those in need?

Let us hear from you.

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